In these unprecedented times, we’re all kicking our heels as we wait for major sport to return safely to the schedules.
Darts is in a unique position. It’s not a fluid sport where the opponents even need to be in the same room, technically, and so in theory the show could go on for Michael van Gerwen and the rest of the boys.
And that’s the basic genesis behind the PDC Home Tour, which will see 96 of the world’s best players battle it out from the comfort of their own front room. So if you ever wondered if Peter Wright is a wallpaper or paint man now is your chance to find out!
Sadly, Van Gerwen won’t be taking part – he has just become a father for the second time, but Wright will headline a high quality field that includes Grand Slam champion Gerwyn Price, major finalist Dave Chisnall and women’s world champion Lisa Ashton.
Sadly, former world champ Gary Anderson – because he lives in a remote location, his Wi-Fi connection is not strong enough to stream his action live!
Starting today and spreading across the next 32 nights consecutively, the action will be broadcast for free – you need to sign up for an account at pdc.tv – while some bookies will also be live streaming the event and offering match odds.
How It Will Unfold
A trial of the Home Tour format has already been carried out by the PDC, with the likes of UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall and Stephen Bunting competing on the firm’s Facebook and YouTube pages.
The players film their dartboard with a mobile phone on a tripod, with the action broadcast via the Skype platform. The scores they throw then get relayed to the official PDC scorer, who updates the on-screen scoreboard accordingly.
The PDC’s own Dan Dawson is on hand to provide commentary, and so the overall feeling is of a slick and professional – albeit slightly unusual – presentation.
Each night, the four players drawn together in the group will play each other in a round robin basis over the best of nine legs, and by the end of the evening the group winner will be crowned based upon most wins (or leg difference if necessary).
Further details about how the tournament will progress from there are yet to be announced, but presumably the group winners will go through to a classic knockout phase.
The PDC’s head honcho, Barry Hearn, said:
“Firstly, I would like to thank all our incredible NHS staff who continue to save lives in the most difficult circumstances, we all owe an immense amount of gratitude to our key workers.
“It gives me great excitement that we are able to deliver live darts to fans in these unprecedented times.
“We’ve spent the last few weeks planning and looking at what is possible, and I’m delighted to be able to present a concept which gives all Tour Card Holders the opportunity to take part.”