Having spent a full weekend watching darts from the BDO and the PDC, it is time to reflect what each had to offer. Which side had the better darts and of course the price money!
For a player, the answer could well be different as their performance in one division of the sport may not be reflected in the other even if the rewards are higher. The Joint Grand Slam of darts is the only darts event that pits the cream of the BDO with the PDC and who can have the bragging rights as the Grand Slam Champion.
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The BDO World Masters not only had new sponsors but also reverted to the original format meaning the BDO seeds had to compete in qualifying rounds to make the TV stage. A few players were missing, and it seemed they might not have registered under protest. The one that did compete had no automatic advantage and had to compete from round one.
It was the TV companies that requested the top-ranking players be given an automatic qualifying space, and of course, this is what the players work for all year building up their points so they can enter the major tournaments as a ranked player. So, were any of you disappointed not seeing the full 16 BDO ranked players on your screens? Well, probably not because the BDO one has three tournaments on Eurosport. The world Championships, The BDO World Trophy and the World Masters.
For betting firms, this might have been a little bit of an issue as it can be hard to predict a winner when there was little information to go on.
Watching new to the screen players emerge was great as many of the top players from the 2018 season, including the defending Masters Champions, Glen Durrant had made a move to the PDC. Hence to say the seeing new talent can be a breath of fresh air.
If you are a dart fan, then the division BDO / PDC is meaningless, you just want to watch good darts, and by contrast the PDC does deliver on this basis. It is now certainly recognised that higher averages and more nine-dart finishes can be found on the PDC side than the BDO. When a good player is averaging mid-nineties in the BDO, players are regularly topping the hundred mark in the PDC. Although a miss now and then can add to the enjoyment if you are a natural spectator.
The PDC European Championship finals featured on ITV4 in the UK and many other channels across the world. The European championship consists of several rounds that are streamed via the PDC.TV and players receive a ranking based upon their performance in each of these contests, known as the PDC European Ranking. All of the PDC tour cardholders take part with the top 32 players progressing to the TV finals. Notable player Gary Anderson hasn’t competed for the last two years due to the additional commitment needed to attend the events and the back injury that also prevented him competing in The Premier League earlier this year.
The European Championships didn’t disappoint. However, some may say the day may have been a little long for the finalists. Neither Rob Cross or Gerwyn Price showed the form that got them to the final.
Rob Cross managed to win 11-6 and claim his third major PDC TV title. Gerwyn, however, had to compete against a biased crowd and one ‘fan!’ who liked to practise his whistling at poignant times. Not only spoiling the enjoyment for the millions of viewers but also preventing the players. Play at their best. I hope future tournaments spectators like this are removed and not allowed back into any other darts tournaments.
While the winner of the PDC European Tour picked up a winner’s cheque for £120,000 the winner of the BDO Masters, one of the oldest tournaments in darts history, picked up a cheque for £18,000!
The discrepancy between the BDO and the PDC increases each year. The BDO doesn’t seem to have moved on in anyway or form and the winners pay cheques was £7,000 less than the winner received in 2007. Fortunes need to change in the BDO and quickly.
Des Jacklin, Chairman of the BDO, knows he is on an uphill struggle when it comes to tournament sponsorship, TV broadcasting and keeping players in the BDO. Unlike Barry Hearn, the chairman of the PDC who has created a win, win, environment for sponsors, TV broadcasters and players. With £14M in prize fund alone for the 2019 season, the PDC dominates darts TV scheduling with big rewards for all involved. In January another bunch of hopefuls will again compete for a two-year PDC tour card. Each looking to take a share of the lucrative side of the sport.