This week’s Hong Kong Masters 2022 is likely to break records for the largest snooker crowd ever.

The current record for the largest live audience in the sport is 3,000, which was set at the Hong Kong Masters in 2017. But that is poised to change this week, with numbers of up to 9,000 expected.

The competition, which runs from Thursday to Sunday, will be held at the magnificent Hong Kong Coliseum and will be Asia’s first snooker event since 2019.

There are eight players in the field, including local stars Ng On Yee and Marco Fu, as well as the top six players in the global rankings at the start of the season: Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, Mark Selby, Neil Robertson, John Higgins, and Zhao Xintong.

The biggest ever snooker crowds in the UK have come at the Masters in London but have never exceeded 2,500 at either Wembley Conference Centre or Alexandra Palace.

WST Chairman Steve Dawson said: “We are thrilled to see this extraordinary appetite for snooker in Hong Kong especially on this very significant moment for our sport as we stage a tournament in Asia for the first time in three years.

“For the eight players it will be an incredible experience, with crowds of up to three times more than they have ever seen before.

“We are proud to be working with the Hong Kong Billiard Sports Control Council and building our footprint in this region.”

Chairman of the HKBSCC Vincent Law added: “The scale of the venue and production will set a new standard in professional snooker. Over 90% of the tickets for the final day have been sold, so we are looking at up to 9,000 people to witness the winner lift the trophy.

“We are very excited to be about to make history again with everyone involved. We are thankful to all the players, officials, World Snooker Tour, and the Hong Kong snooker fans for their support.”