UK betting and gaming operator Betfred has extended its title sponsorship of snooker’s World Championship for a further two years.

Betfred returned as sponsor of the sport's biggest tournament last year, with that deal running until 2017. The tournament will now continue to be called the Betfred World Championship until at least 2019.

This year’s event finished last week with Mark Selby beating Ding Junhui 18-14 in the final to round off a 17 days of action at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. A global audience of over 300m watched the tournament on television, while tickets for the famous Crucible venue were sold out weeks in advance.

“After a terrific tournament this year I am delighted to be extending our relationship with the World Snooker Championship for a further two years,” said Betfred founder and CEO Fred Done. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank both the Champion Mark Selby and runner-up Ding Junhui for a fantastic final.

“Our association with this blue riband event is now until at least 2019. I am already looking forward to next year’s Championship when we will be celebrating 40 years at the Crucible.”

Betfred also sponsored the World Championship from 2009 to 2012 and then signed a new three-year deal in 2015 to replace Dafabet as title sponsor.

“We are thrilled to have the support from Betfred until at least 2019, they are a fantastic sponsor and a great team to work with,” said World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn. “This year’s Championship generated incredible viewing figures across the globe and set new records at the box office. And the event is already close to selling out for next year.

“This year we saw so many dramatic matches, exciting moments and a remarkable standard of play, with the record of 86 century breaks equalled. Our sport continues to grow and the Betfred World Championship is the flagship event.”

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