When it comes to the world of darts, there have been some massive personalities in the sport over the years, going back to the eighties there have been the likes of Jocky Wilson and Eric Bristow, to more modern times with players like Phil Taylor and Michael Van Gerwen, but they never tend to be from the USA. Freetips.com looks into the reasons why.
Darts is very popular in the US, with over Seventeen Million players according to the National Sporting Goods Association, it is still seen very much as a ‘pub game’ rather than the sport it is over here. There are three professional darts associations in the US. The American Darters Association (ADA), the American Darts Organisation (ADO) and the National Darts Association (NDA), and the sport is growing. There are also some personalities within those organisations, but they have yet to break out on the world stage. They just need that chance to shine. President of the ADA, Karl Remick, thinks that there are certain players that people will want to see in the sport in the US.
“There are more chances or choices or options out there as a whole; we have tons of characters or people you’d want to follow or see what kind of shenanigans they can get into.”
Of the three organisations in the US, the ADA is the only one that covers both the traditional ‘steel tip’ darts, as well as the newer electronic soft-tip style of game. The ADO focuses solely on the steel tip variety of darts, while the NDA’s focus is on the soft-tip style, and is working closely with manufacturers and entertainment owners to try and get more of the electronic darts boards into venues for leagues and competitions.
Remick feels that the reason darts hasn’t reached the levels it should have in the US is down to the fact that the organisations don’t have a common strategic long term plan. “They always think it’s a good idea, [but] they never do it in the long run,” he says. “Without one common goal, we can’t go anywhere. We can’t get on the same page for some strange reason.”
Tom Sawyer, President of the ADO, agrees with Remick, but he admits that the ADO has to be his immediate focus. He claims that when he joined the organisation, it was a financial disaster and that a lot of work has been done to try and turn that around, to avoid remaining at rock bottom.
The problem is without that level of drive and focus; darts is only ever going to be seen as a hobby. With the ADA, even though it cites thousands of members of the organisation, there are only 119 players who count themselves as professionals on the books, and with numbers like that, it is not hard to see why there aren’t many players hitting the world stage. Hopefully, in the future, though, things will come together in the US, and we could soon be seeing more US participation in the sport.