Matchroom Multi Sport can announce that it has acquired full ownership of the US Open 9 Ball Championship in a ground-breaking move that is part of a long-term goal to take the event into the sports mainstream.
Barry Behrman had started the event in 1976 and had grown it over the decades into one of the most anticipated events in world pool and it now enters its 43rd year. Behrman passed away April 2016. His children continued the event in 2016 and 2017. Matchroom Chairman, Barry Hearn, recently signed an agreement with Behrman’s children, the heirs and executors of the Behrman estate.
Commented Barry Hearn, “This is momentous news for pool and is going to be a major boost for the sport and the industry. We’re not here to mess about and everything we’ve done in the world of pool is to the highest standard, with the best money, the best players, best TV production and huge global TV coverage, including North American TV. That is what we’re bringing to the Open.”
Matchroom are looking to stage the next US Open in April 2019 at a major venue in Las Vegas which means that there will be no Open this year. The event would maintain it’s $1,000 entry fee although the long-term goal will be to reduce that figure down to zero. In addition, all living previous champions will be offered a spot with no entry fee applicable. The prize-fund would be set at a guaranteed $300,000, the biggest ever for the event.
Matchroom Sport have been promoting televised international pool since 1993 and their current catalogue consists of the World Pool Masters, the World Cup of Pool and the Mosconi Cup, the biggest pool tournament in the world. In addition, they also promoted the WPA World Pool Championship from 1999 to 2007.
Hearn continued, “I’m very excited about this. The US Open has got a magnificent history with 28 different winners down the years. Some of the greatest names in the modern era will have their names etched on the new Barry Behrman Trophy which will be presented each year to the champion, alongside the traditional Green Jacket.
“We will make this the pool tournament which will be a must-see for every pool fan in the USA and beyond and we hope to bring new people to the game. It’s a big job and a lot of hard work but that’s what Matchroom do and we will be turning the fantastic US Open into the daddy of all pool tournaments!” he added.
“We know this is the best move for not only the US Open that our father produced for 40 consecutive years, but for American and international pool as a whole. Our late father’s dream was always to elevate pool and he accomplished this in his own right.” said Brady & Shannon, Behrman’s children.
“We are excited to turn the reigns over to Barry Hearn and his dedicated team at Matchroom to truly elevate the event. We will see our father’s legacy live on. We are looking forward to seeing all of the incredible fans and players from around the world in Vegas,” they concluded.
The format will be double elimination on a multi-table set up down to the last eight on the winners and losers sides. The final stages will feature the last 16 players in straight knock out on a single table in a huge arena. All matches will be races to 11 with the exception of the final.
Stand by for more announcements on the Open over the coming weeks and months as the countdown to the future of tournament pool gets underway.