Was it the right decision to add Luke Littler into the Premier League?


Was it the right decision to add Luke Littler into the Premier League?

The PDC Premier League has always remained a non-raking event. Since its conception, the league has undergone several changes and formats to find what best suits it and, above all, entertainment value.

The earlier leagues had ten players, with the bottom two eliminated halfway through the sixteen span. Then came the contenders, which featured one player known as a contender each week. However, the league has always been about showcasing the top of the PDC order of merit alongside up-and-coming new talent. The main sponsors and Sky also had a say in who they wished to be involved. The two players they picked were known as the Wild Cards. Which always brought some discussion about whether they were the right players to play.

The 2024 season is no exception. Luke Littler blasted onto the senior darts seen after gaining entry into the PDC World Championships following his victory in the PDC Winmau World Youth Championships at the Butlins Minehead resort in November 2023. The same venue also features the PDC Players Championships and the UK Open. Luke beat another upcoming young dart player Gian van Veen, from the Netherlands 6-4 in the youth televised final. The iconic Butlins venue has also been secured to host all three major dart events until 2026.

At the age of sixteen, Luke Little is one of the youngest players to play in the senior division tournaments and made history by becoming the youngest player to reach the World Final in January 2024, at 16 years and 347 days. However, he lost the final to the tournament favourite, Luke Humphries, 7-4. But his sensational feat got him worldwide recognition and made him a host of new dart fans of the sport.


2024 PDC Premier League.

Although many may have thought Littler's success in the World Championships may have been a one-off fluke, similar to Kirk Shepherd's World Championship tournament in 2007/8 World Championships, Luke has proven his ability many times over in the Premier League and World Series events, stage thus far in 2024.

It seemed inevitable Luke Littler would feature in the 2024 Premier League. Even many higher-ranked players, such as Joe Cullen, stated that Luke Little would be a good choice for the Premier League, even though Joe himself was also tipped for a Premier League place after reaching the fourth round in the World Championship. Joe said it would be good for the sport to feature Littler, even if this meant he was left out. Indeed, Joe is a gentleman of the sport and can see the broader picture as all players benefit from a wider audience and more sponsorship. Darts hasn't seen much media coverage since Fallon Sherrock became the first female player to win on the PDC World Stage back in 2019.

Luke has had an excellent start to the Premier League. After Night 11, he remained at the top of the Premier League Darts table, with two points clear of world champion Luke Humphries and four clear of Michael van Gerwen. At this stage, Littler was streets ahead of the rest in terms of legs won, winning 126 to Humphries' 116 and van Gerwen's 101. But there is still a long way to go if he wishes to make the play-off finals at the O2 Arena in London in May 2024.


Luke Littler goes top of the Premier League with Manchester win

Luke has demonstrated that he is no one who hits wonder, which is a testament to Luke and the PDC Youth development system. He has encouraged a new generation of fans and players to pick up the arrows as this renowned alternative sport grows Worldwide.


Darts TV Broadcast

PDC Chairman Eddie Hearn has stated that darts are the second most watched sport on Sky TV, second only to football. Although Sky also broadcasts golf, tennis, boxing, pool, F1 motor racing, and many other sporting events, it is the sport that was first featured in the tap rooms of UK pubs and has taken the broadcasting channel to new heights.

The tabloid press features grow weekly on the back of the darts television broadcasts, as many punters wish to read the latest form and see how well their favourite players are playing.

Luke Littler has had a major impact on the sport of darts, and should he continue in this same vein, his future in the sport is secure.