World Snooker Championship watched by 210 million in China

Ding Junhui
Qualifier Ding Junhui reached his first World Championship final

Ding Junhui's run to the final of the World Championship boosted TV audiences in China to 210 million.

Ding became the first Asian man to reach the final, where he was beaten 18-14 by world number one Mark Selby.

The afternoon sessions of the final, which was played on Sunday and Monday, were watched by more than 45 million in China, the highest sports audiences for post-prime time programmes this year.

The total global audience for the tournament was over 300 million.

The confirmation of the high viewing figures comes after World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn predicted that half of the world's top 16 players will one day come from China.

At the beginning of the World Championships there were no Chinese players in the top 16, but Ding has now climbed to world number nine.

"Over the next 10-15 years, China will dominate most sports. The government are pouring money in," said Hearn in April.

"Do I want to see the top 16 players all Chinese players? Do you want to see a draw between all Chinese players? The system is there, if they are good enough, to do exactly that."

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