Professional Darts Corporation chairman Barry Hearn described it as “an exciting new era” for the sport when, in February, it was announced that BBC Sport would broadcast a PDC event for the first time.
The inaugural Champions League of Darts will be staged in Cardiff on Saturday and Sunday, with the PDC’s eight leading players competing for a £100,000 first prize.
‘It’s the best party in town’
Former BDO (British Darts Organisation) world champion Mark Webster and 2010 PDC Players Championship winner Paul Nicholson will be part of BBC Sport’s commentary team in Cardiff.
Webster: “Most people aren’t used to seeing the PDC on the BBC and that’s why it’s a groundbreaking event.
“The PDC has played on all sorts of stations but now we’re on the BBC and we’re showcasing the top eight players in the world. It’s going to be a great event.”
Nicholson: “It’s the best party in town. We’ve had stag parties going to arenas in Germany and all over the UK with the Premier League as well.
“As a person watching on television, you get a really good insight from commentators, ex-players and current players.
“With the BBC this week, you’re going to get a lot more analysis with myself, Mark and Alan Warriner-Little. I feel we’ll go more in-depth to the game than ever before.”
The Champions League of Darts will be contested by the leading eight players in the PDC’s Order of Merit:
- Michael van Gerwen (Netherlands): 2014 world champion
- Gary Anderson (Scotland): 2015 2016 world champion
- Adrian Lewis (England): 2011 2012 world champion
- Phil Taylor (England): 16 x world champion
- Peter Wright (Scotland): 2014 World Championship finalist
- James Wade (England): Winner of seven major PDC titles
- Michael Smith (England): 2013 world youth champion
- Robert Thornton (Scotland): 2012 UK Open 2015 World Grand Prix winner
The eight players have been split into two groups of four for the round-robin stage.
The top two from each group after three matches will progress to the semi-finals.
The following group matches are scheduled for Saturday’s afternoon session (13:15 BST):
Group A: Taylor v Wright, Van Gerwen v Thornton
Group B: Anderson v Smith, Lewis v Wade
The winners of those games will face each other later on Saturday (18:30 BST), with the remaining group fixtures played on Sunday (14:00 BST).
The semi-finals and final will take place during Sunday’s evening session (18:30 BST).
The players to watch
BBC Sport’s Phil Cartwright: “World number one Van Gerwen is, without doubt, the player to beat given his recent record in PDC majors.
“He is in supreme form too, having won all three Players Championship events in the lead-up to this tournament and hit two nine-darters along the way.
“Anderson and Lewis, who contested the World Championship final in January, are obvious challengers for the title, and you can never discount 16-time world champion Taylor from contending at the business end of any big event.
“They are the current ‘big four’ in darts. But Wright, Wade, Smith and Thornton are all more than capable of beating the best in the world on their day and will fancy their chances of springing a surprise.”
BBC Sport will be providing text commentary of every match at the Champions League of Darts, alongside live television coverage on BBC One and BBC Two:
Saturday, 24 September
BBC One, 13:15-16:30 BST
Connected TV and online, 13:00-17:00 BST
BBC Two, 16:30-17:00 BST
BBC Two, 18:30-22:00 BST
Sunday, 25 September
BBC Two, 13:00-17:00 BST
BBC Two, 18:30-22:30 BST (BBC2 Scotland – 19:00 – 22:30 BST)
BBC Red Button, 18:30-19:00 BST
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/darts/37406089