BY NICK TEALE
The 2020 BetVictor Weber Cup, which had been scheduled to take place June 5-7 at Morningside Arena in Leicester, U.K., before its postponement to October due to COVID-19, now will be staged behind closed doors at Ricoh Arena in Coventry from Oct. 19-21, live on Sky Sports.
Matchroom Multi Sport had been hoping to allow fans into the event, but given current government guidelines concerning fans at sporting events, the decision has been taken to stage the event behind closed doors.
Players will be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival in the U.K.
The BetVictor Weber Cup will take place over six sessions – two per day – with the first team to reach 23 points taking home the trophy.
The event will be shown live on Sky Sports in the U.K. and by international broadcast partners including DAZN, Viasat, CCTV China, and Matchroom.Live. All ticket holders for the 2020 BetVictor Weber Cup will receive refunds.
Emily Frazer, Managing Director of Matchroom Multi Sport, said, “Despite what will be a disappointment for live bowling fans for this year's BetVictor Weber Cup, with the current climate and uncertainty surrounding spectators at live sporting events, making the decision to stage this behind-closed-doors is the best foot forward for the event and players.
“We fully appreciate all of the already hard work put in place by the team at Morningside Arena in Leicester, however in order to successfully maintain a strict ‘bubble’ protocol, the change in venue allows us test and quarantine players and event personnel with on-site accommodation.
“As per all Multi Sport events, we are in constant discussions with the government to ensure we stay up to date and adhere to regulations. With current travel restrictions in place across the world, we must quarantine and create a 'bubble' environment for our competing international players throughout the event.
“A silver lining is we have the ability to re-schedule the event Monday – Wednesday in the week, allowing for better scheduling on Sky Sports and our international broadcasters. Furthermore, the tournament has been increased to six sessions overall with more matches and a total of 24 live hours – more bowling on TV.
“A new feature to the event this year is the increase to five-man teams, which will allow for a more competitive tournament; players will also be able to feature in the commentary booth – a great addition to our program.
“Despite being staged behind-closed-doors, we are fully committed to how we can be creative with the set, staging, fans-at-home engagement and the television program so we can deliver a fun atmosphere for our players and our fans across the world.”
The BetVictor Weber Cup returns to England as Chris Barnes’s USA side aim to make it three in a row after they defended the title against Europe in Las Vegas in 2019. Barnes is joined by Bill O’Neill, Kyle Troup, Anthony Simonsen and EJ Tackett on Team USA, while Europe will be led by captain Dom Barrett, alongside Stuart Williams, Jesper Svensson, Osku Palermaa and Thomas Larsen.
Paul Michael, Commercial Venue Director said, “We are really excited and honored to be able to host the Weber Cup for 2020 behind closed doors as its strengthens our relationship with Matchroom Multi Sport and demonstrates the diversity of the venue and its ambition to encourage more elite sports to [come to] Coventry.”