In 1976 a small Company called BCE was founded. This Company started life as a distributor to the coin operator sector, supplying cues, balls and table spares. By 1980 BCE had diversified into the manufacture of snooker tables. Within a short period the BCE Westbury snooker table was the table being used at all World professional snooker tournaments. From 1982-1992 the Westbury was the benchmark table in snooker and BCE had become the biggest name in snooker. Many of the sport’s leading professionals were happy to endorse BCE cues.
Alex Hurricane Higgins
Just to mention a few, supported the meteoric rise of BCE.
At the same time, Riley had gone down the route of flotation and had huge ambitions to take the sport and the Riley brand of clubs globally.
By the 1990’s snooker had lost the magic of the 80’s. Both Riley and BCE by 1992 had floated on the stock exchange and been taken back into private hands. This marked the beginning of a more difficult period for the cue sports industry in general.
All the personalities in the game had come to the end or were nearing the end of their glittering careers. There was a new breed of players emerging, leaner, meaner, and mentally tougher but with less popular appeal.
The 1990’s were difficult and challenging times for both Riley and BCE. Riley went through a period of different ownership and so too did BCE. Both Companies struggled to re-establish their hold on the snooker market. BCE retreated to its humble beginnings servicing the coin operated sector in the UK. Riley covered all sectors of the market from retail to mail order, to coin operators.
Unfortunately because of the degree of diversity and lack of core focus the Riley brand began to drift in direction and became jaded.
Stuart Lacey emerged into the market in 1994 having founded RLE, a small competitor to Riley and BCE. By 1996 RLE was growing rapidly and by November 1997 RLE had merged with BCE. By July 1999 Stuart Lacey had gained control of BCE.
In late 2002 Riley had fallen into administration. BCE acquired the Riley brand and have since to re-established its prominence and position.
The BCE group export to more than 60 countries world-wide. Snooker is near the top of the tree again in terms of popularity among spectators and players alike.
BCE group are committed to spreading the word further by developing key markets worldwide.