World Snooker is delighted to announce that BetVictor has renewed its title sponsorship of the Welsh Open world ranking event.

The BetVictor Welsh Open will run from February 19 to March 2 at the Newport Centre. The likes of World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, world number one Neil Robertson, Mark Selby, Judd Trump, John Higgins, Ding Junhui, defending champion Stephen Maguire and home favourites Mark Williams and Matthew Stevens will all be eligible to enter.

For the first time, the BBC Wales-televised event will see all 128 players competing at the venue and starting in the same round, giving the chance to up-and-coming rookies to face established stars in the opening round.

The tournament is four days longer than usual and fans will have the chance to see many more players in action, with a multi-table layout at the Newport Centre in the early stages.

Total prize money has increased from £250,000 to £300,000, with the winner to receive £60,000 instead of £50,000. Last year’s final was a gripping battle as Maguire edged out Stuart Bingham 9-8 in a dramatic deciding frame.

World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: “BetVictor sponsored the Welsh Open for the first time in 2013 and we are thrilled to welcome them back. They are clearly very pleased with the worldwide exposure that snooker can provide.

“We have a brand new format for the event this season, which puts all the players on a level playing field. The same format was used at the recent UK Championship and it produced some fascinating stories. I can’t wait to see how it pans out in Newport and we look forward to working with the BetVictor team.”

Magnus Grinneback, Managing Director of BetVictor Asia, said: “The Welsh Open is one of the sport’s iconic tournaments and we are delighted to again lend our name and support to an event that has been extended in 2014 to give snooker fans the opportunity to see legends of the sport rub shoulders with some of the new kids on the block in a brand new format. This year the BetVictor Welsh Open will be played over an additional four days with no fewer than 128 players chasing the £300,000 purse and these are exciting times for a sport popular in both the UK and Asia; we see it as an excellent opportunity to extend the reach of the BetVictor brand to our core markets.”

Tickets for the tournament are ON SALE NOW and fans are strongly advised to book early as many sessions are expected to sell out quickly. For full details call 01633 656 757 or visit www.worldsnooker.com/tickets

The draw and format will be available after the seeding cut-off point which follows the German Masters (January 29 – February 2).

The BetVictor Welsh Open is supported by Newport City Council.