According to the BBC, World Snooker is launching a new ‘Hotshots’ programme featuring five young players chosen to appeal to a younger audience.
The players are Mark Selby, Mark Allen, Jamie Cope, Daniel Wells and Michael Georgiou.
Actually, the BBC story makes an odd reference to ‘Michael Demetriou’ which could, for all we know, be Georgiou’s Equity name.
A PR firm, Capitalize, has been employed to handle the campaign. It seems strange that they should give an exclusive to BBC London rather than announcing this new project to the media at large or inviting anyone else along.
Stranger still is that one of the players (Georgiou) was only last week complaining in the Metro newspaper that he can’t make a living out of the game.
I assume this wasn't part of the PR campaign.
Snooker fans with long memories will recall the Young Player of Distinction scheme that ran between 2000 and 2002.
It featured the likes of Shaun Murphy, Stephen Maguire and Ali Carter and offered media training, dietary advice and all manner of other assistance.
The scheme was wound up because it was not felt the cost involved was justified.
The idea of Hotshots – according to the BBC – is to ‘promote the game to a younger audience.’ Expect some striking photos in the next couple of weeks.
For the record, I have nothing against the Hotshots campaign at all. It may transpire that it does nothing to increase interest in snooker but it certainly won’t be a negative for the sport (unless any of those involved are found to be getting up to no good).
What concerns me is the way these campaigns are run. If past evidence is anything to go by – World Snooker has employed three previous PR firms for various reasons in the last decade – the regular snooker media will be ignored (indeed they already appear to have been).
This would be a big mistake. Ultimately, only those with a commitment to snooker are genuinely interested in advancing its fortunes.
Still, it will be interesting to see how this campaign pans out.