World Snooker is the commercial arm of the World Professional Billiards & Snooker Association, the governing body of professional snooker. It is responsible for running and administrating snooker's professional circuit, including prestigious ranking tournaments such as the World Championship, UK Championship and the Grand Prix, as well as invitation events such as the Masters.
As the owner of the sport's commercial rights, World Snooker also negotiates sponsorship for tournaments as well as television contracts. Snooker is one of the most popular sports in the United Kingdom and is played by over 4 million adults. It attracts vast television audiences; the 2005 World Championship final was watched by a peak figure of 7.8 million.
The sport's popularity is also growing rapidly in many countries around the globe. In 2004, World Snooker signed a deal with Eurosport to beam snooker into 51 different territories, with a reach of 95 million homes across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Viewing figures are particularly high in countries such as Germany, Belgium and Holland.
In the Far East, the snooker boom is developing at pace. The China Open staged in Beijing in 2005 was enthusiastically received by Chinese fans. A stagering 110 million people watched live on television as Ding Junhui beat Stephen Hendry in the final to elevate himself to the status of national hero. The WPBSA also deals specifically with the rules and regulations of snooker as well as disciplinary matters.