Autumn/Winter is a vitally important season for darts. Not only does the playing season come to a glittering climax, but the industry that thrives on our sport also invests heavily in achieving its aims during this time.
The launch of Red Dragon’s 2021 range, later today, will bring to a close another ‘Launch Season’ for the big players in our business.
Despite all its difficulties 2020 has not proven dramatically different from other years. In terms of timing, strategy, and product variety the main brands have launched around their usual time and much of the same style for which they renowned. On closer inspection, some have appeared a little lighter on variety than usual and, perhaps, a little more focused on accessories than new dart models and innovation.
Supply lines for some, China is a major source of manufacturing, will have been very badly dented by Covid-19. Others who base much of their operation within the UK or in countries less affected may have been able to continue with far less disruption.
Two of the ‘big guns’ Harrows and Unicorn seemed to concentrate on the grip for their 2021 ranges. Harrows revamped some old favorites as well as launching some new models with varied grips and much-improved styling. The Noble was perhaps, the highlight. Unicorn released their CODE range of differently coloured and more aggressively gripped player darts.
Winmau offered combinations of some of their best assets. By mixing many of their start names with some of their most popular grip, coating, and styling techniques they produced a range of new looking but classic models and a range of accessories under their ‘Premium’ own brand range ‘Pro-Line’. Perhaps the wisest move was the refreshing of stars such as Merv King’s classic barrel with some of these patented features. King’s timely run to the Players Championship final certainly seemed an opportune boost.
It will be interesting to see whether today’s Red Dragon launch follows a similar pattern or whether they are able to cover a wider range. As a hugely popular online brand RD has a vast range of design and production experience and are likely to be the least affected of the major brands.
We at 'The Boardroom' will be keen to add Red Dragon’s efforts to the set for 2021 and look at the position of the major brands for the upcoming season in a later study.-----------------
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