Die Darterei: Where Media and Merriment Merge

Red Dragon Darts

GERMAN darts has received a fair amount of attention in recent years. Flooding it with events and money, the PDC have made keen attempts to grow the sport’s popularity in the nation. And there is plenty of evidence that it is bearing fruit. 

Gabriel Clemens’s run to the semi-finals of the 2023 PDC World Championship saw the German broadcaster Sport 1 achieve record viewing figures of almost 4 million.

“We need a massive German and there’s none bigger than the German Giant,” his opponent and conqueror in that semi-final, Michael Smith, observed following the match.

But when it comes to more recreational play, something has been missing.

That is perhaps until now. Enter Die Darterei, a new darts bar in the heart of the nation’s capital which is quickly garnering a supportive following. The brainchild of Die Welt journalist Lutz Wöckener and a group of his colleagues, it has enjoyed a fast rise to success which is challenging its capacity and current level of provisions.

But it wasn’t always going to be that way. As Lutz outlined, a three-year process of planning approval and organisation ensued before the doors could even swing open onto Berliner Allee back in April 2023.

As a writer by trade, Lutz’s interest in the sport was first piqued as a teenager, when he played on soft tip boards with friends. But it was only really in the last decade when the appetite for the sport met a new desire for greater media coverage.

“At first, my colleagues laughed about me,” he explained as we spoke recently over Zoom. “They didn’t see it as a sport, just fat guys with bad tattoos. But I persisted, and we saw the traffic grow and grow.”

Initially, there was only a small handful of German media organisations covering the sport, which allowed Die Welt to gain more of a stranglehold. It became a staple of their Christmas coverage and later led Lutz to make his first posting to the Alexandra Palace for the championship itself, just under a decade ago.

But it was crucially Lutz’s “reconnection”, as he termed it, with the more playful pursuit of his youth which really drove him into darts entrepreneurship. When he and fellow Die Welt writers would throw after shifts, they began to lust for the steel tip version of the game as opposed to the soft tip machines they had become accustomed to.

Lutz and his friends were however not alone. As Wöckener concluded, there were many more Germans disenfranchised from the sport by the lack of playing options, with all that was really on the market being the traditional playing clubs of old. If no one else was to build it, he surmised, then they must…..

Continue reading Die Darterei: in Darts World Magazine (Issue 586). Grab a copy or a digital subscription in the dartsworld.com shop.


Words: Thomas Bartley

Images: As Supplied

Originally published in Darts World Magazine (Issue 586)


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