The venues have been announced for the new-look Grand Prix Series 2018/19 – and the cost to enter events will be cheaper for around 95% of players.
The circuit has been trimmed from eight events to five, starting at Crawley in September and followed by Preston, Bath, Wolverhampton and Redbridge. There will be a satellite event in Cardiff, with more satellite events potentially to follow.
Overall series prize money has been scrapped and the cash redistributed across the five events, meaning each Grand Prix is now a standalone competition with a bigger prize pot up for grabs.
The Men’s and Women’s Singles winners will pocket £500 and there is prize-money across every playing category.
The changes were made after a competition review and consultation with competitors. The new set-up aims to attract bigger fields with the opportunity to win more money, while making the events cheaper to enter for the bulk of players.
The drop to five competitions also reflects a current shortage in tournament officials, particularly referees, which made it increasingly difficult to sustain a calendar of eight Grand Prix weekends.
In anticipation of bigger entries, the locations have been largely dictated by the availability of 30-table venues on the dates earmarked in the Competitions Calendar, and taking into account the availability of referees.
It means there is no event in the North East or East of England, however more satellite or independent Grands Prix could be added to the calendar.
The map below details the location of the confirmed events so far. Entries will open for the Crawley Grand Prix shortly.
The cost of entering a Grand Prix will also be reduced for the vast majority of players. The cost of entering one category will be £45, which includes a £10 refundable deposit, followed by £10 for each subsequent event entered.
Last season, the cost to enter one category varied from £41 to £42.50, with subsequent categories costing from £16.
Therefore, any player who enters more than one category will see the cost of their overall entry fall. At a typical Grand Prix last season, around 95% of players entered more than one category.
Figures from the financial year ended March 31, 2018, which included six Grands Prix, show that the income per event was typically around £11,300, while the average expenditure across seven major categories (venue hire, equipment hire, trophies, event prize money, series prize money, player deposit refunds and officials’ expenses) was around £11,100. The ranking levy is excluded from both sets of figures. The figures relate to a typical Grand Prix – exact figures are not made public due to commercial sensitivities.
The audited figures for the six Grands Prix in the financial year to March 31 show a combined surplus of just over £1,000 – although this does not reflect additional staff costs and expenses.
A breakdown of the costs of staging a typical Grand Prix in the last financial year can be seen below: