The Boardroom: Consolidation Is Key

Red Dragon Darts

There are a great many commercial undercurrents in the darts industry and it’s wider ecosphere at the present time. 

The PDC’s expansion of it’s global brand and elite events, via worldwide partnerships notably in North America, continues apace. Their recent cooperation with North American sports betting interests should remind us of their constant evolution. 

Meanwhile, what could be thought of as the Championship and grassroots leagues have multiple groupings striving to consolidate their place and promote their offers to players, sponsors and broadcasters.

Here in the UK there is now a pipeline from junior darts (JDC), then high quality amateur event associated with the ADC this can lead to broadcast competitive darts worth up to £20,000 via MODUS’s Super Series which is now providing a training ground for those wishing to progress or return to their previous level. After feasting on all that you can now join a seniors circuit via the WSDT as well as their TV majors forming an over 50s system via a mixture of invitation and qualification.

Although there are nascent branches of the ADC on mainland Europe and Oceania it’s outside the UK that the WDF still seem to have a strong presence only time will tell whether they can retain and consolidate their position as ‘the games governing body’ in anything other than name. 

Much will come down to the success, or otherwise, of their first two year rolling ranking and the major events attached to them. Is a Lakeside World Championship and a much changed World Masters, enough to keep players touring the globe for points and hold together the infrastructure built in the 1970s? 

Another area in which we seem to have arrived in calmer water after the post covid storms is the player recruitment of the major names. Even Mission seem to have finally filled their required quota and are now seeming a little more systematic and less scattergun. The name to keep an eye on may well be the grand old lady herself. 

Unicorn had been the source of our concern here at the Boardroom. Their withdrawal from the PDC seemed hurried and their sudden and almost careless reduction in players smacked of almost giving up.

Recent times give a slightly different look. Ross Smith was signed with relatively little fuss and time has been taken with the release of his products. Some judicious extending of iconic names (Gary Anderson and James Wade) has been mixed with low key but solid investment in a small group of next generation players.

While it’s too soon to make any real determination it seems clear that Unicorn has reset the ship and will be looking to move forward again. Worth watching we think…


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