The USA is an exciting playground for British sport at the moment. Eddie Hearn is trying to crack the market there in the heavyweight boxing division, and it appears to be that his father is looking to give darts another crack across the pond.
There’s been a shift in attitude in the US in recent times. Online gaming laws have been relaxed in a number of states, and particularly those Hearn would be likely to attack, making for the bigger entertainment industry, particularly in those that are indoor and considered more pub sports.
The new legislation means that more people are flocking to the likes of New Jersey and Nevada to play and pay by mobile casino and online, which means more tourists and more people are likely to spend their evenings in the arenas across these gaming meccas.
That perhaps makes it the perfect time for Matchroom to take the PDC back over to the country.
Hearn has been keen to claim that “interesting developments” are on their way and as well as the United States he has his eyes on the likes of Scandinavia and a further move into China.
It’s believed a big TV contract in the former could provide a major breakthrough, with the World Series evidential event expected to be the tournament that will be the key focus.
Hearn said, “It’s working, but it’s an evolution. Over a period of time, those invitational events have at one time got to become open events, that’s the transition.”
“It worked well in snooker, and we did exactly the same thing in the 80s. In China, for example, we took eight players who played eight Chinese players and today China is 40 per cent of our market.”
“I don’t see why that can’t be the case for darts as well.”
The US Darts Masters is already a fixture as part of the World Series, but it’s yet to break the American market fully. It took place in Las Vegas once again this year and was the opening leg of the Series, going on to be played in Germany, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands.
The prize fund was just £60,000, which is perhaps something that needs to be addressed if it’s going to become a serious aspect of the Darts calendar, particularly in Las Vegas where that sort of money can be won on the spin of a wheel.
That naturally requires more sponsors and the only way to do that is to continue to advance the profile of the game.
A major TV deal in the US could be the start of that. Eddie Hearn has yet to achieve the heights of USA with boxing as it stands, following his prize fighter’s (Anthony Joshua) loss just a few months ago. Can his Dad have better luck? He certainly thinks so, but he knows full well it’ll be far from easy.