When it comes to darts there are fans for the BDO and PDC however, the truth to be known dart players just love darts regardless where it is being played. The rise of the sport has seen many changes both positive and negative. Since Barry Hearn took over the chairmanship of the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) darts has grown beyond many players and fans expectation. Mr Hearn announced that the prize fund for 2019 would be £14M a growth of £2M on the previous year. Darts as a sport is growing worldwide at a rapid pace and it is showing no signs of slowing down.
Betting firms and online bookies such as omegatipsters.com can’t get enough of the sport. Germanys growth in the sport has been massive with over 20,000 fans attending one non-ranking PDC World Series event alone, the biggest in darts history. Japan now has a new darting hero, Mikuru Suzuki as she claimed her first Ladies World Championship title at her first attempt.
Betting firms are now the main sponsors of most of the PDC dart events that feature across our TV screens each month. The PDC has grown from a small base of sixteen professional players into a multi-million-pound industry with more players wanting to compete for the big money prizes. But what of the British Darts Organisation (BDO), how do they fare against the might of the PDC?
When Des Jacklin took over as chairman at the British Darts Organisation, August 2018, he inherited not only over 40 years of BDO history, he also inherited a number of very difficult issues.
At the time of Des’s appointment, there had been no announcement of a venue for the 2019 World Professional Championships. Speculation whether the event would even be staged was becoming a concern to many top BDO players including the 2018 defending champions, ‘Glen Durrant’.
Since 1986 the Lakeside Country Club has been the host venue and the main sponsor since 2003. However, a normal publication for the World Championships is around mid-year however, the Lakeside fell silent. To add to Des’s woes, the television contract for the event had expired. From the outside, it seemed the World Championships could, for the first time in over 40 years, not take place.
The players also had additional issues with the BDO as many had signed a contract to play in the event and some had forgone the opportunity to play in the PDC Q School. BDO 2018 World Champion Glen Durrant and the BDO No.1 Mark McGeeney were two such players.
Des, having a business background, was however the best appointment the BDO committee could have made at the time. Des seems a no-nonsense type of man, he first changed article 4 of the BDO players ruling. The change in the ruling allowed players to compete for PDC Q school and the ladies to take up the two available PDC World Championship places without fear of being excluded from BDO events. Des then negotiated a three-year deal with Eurosport to broadcast three of the BDO’s biggest events each year. The World Championship, The BDO World Darts Trophy and the Winmau Masters. With this in hand, Lakeside then announced they would again be hosting the 2019 World Championship.
The 2019 BDO World Championship was again won by Glen Durrant for the third time in a row. Glen collected a first prize cheque of £100,000 the biggest prize money on the BDO circuit. However, Michael van Gerwen won the PDC World Championship a week earlier and picked up a cheque for £500,000 second placed player Michael Smith Collected £200,000 and semi-finalists Gary Anderson and Nathan Aspinall collected £100,000 each. To say there is a massive disparity between the prize money is a truly an understatement. Questions are always asked, ‘why don’t more of the BDO players move to the PDC’?
It was therefore inevitable after the BDO amended article 4 that Glen Durrant, Mark McGeeney and others that competed in the 2019 BDO World Championships would compete at the PDC Q School to try and gain a two-year tour card. Glen and Mark McGeeney were successful, each winning a tour card and along with Scott Baker, Conan Whitehead, Jamie Hughes, Andy Bolton to name but a few will now compete on the more lucrative for a PDC darts circuit. How will this affect the BDO with the loss of the three-time BDO World Champion and BDO No.1? We will have to wait and see.