At the time of writing, the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) roadshow has hit Shanghai and Las Vegas in the second and third rounds of this year’s World Series events. The PDC is using the World Series of darts to grow the sport of darts globally. In recent years the PDC has successfully grown darts events in Europe with thousands of dart fans attending each event the PDC stage. A testament to its global growth can be seen at the World Darts Championships, the 2017 World Championship, in London, ten per cent of the fan basis who attended came from Germany. The PDC success could be summed up in one PDC debutant in 2017, Rob Cross.
Cross, who still has no nickname, was an electrician before entering the Amateur Qualifiers for the UK Open in 2016. Having qualified, he made it to the Last 32 before losing out to Michael van Gerwen in a master class of darting expertise.
Following some encouraging wins on the second tier of Professional Darts on the Challenge Tour, Cross went to Q School in January 2017 and qualified for his maiden year on the ProTour circuit. Sites like bigfreebet.com now mark Cross down for further progress this year.
In just seven months in the professional game, Cross has risen into the Top 50 but has earned over a staggering £69,000 in that time, no doubt changing his life in a way that many years ago would not have been possible through the sport of darts.
As recently as ten years ago many would have said it would not have been possible for a top 50 dart player to earn as much in such a short time. But the phenomenon of turning darts into as much a show as well as a sport, where punters flock in their thousands right across the world to watch the best players in the world and to provide some friendly banter between fans as they encourage each other to stand up if they love the darts, have has provided the riches in the sport for any budding darts amateur that wishes to try their hand in the professional sport.
“Darts is the only sport that has a partnership of the excitement of a party and world class sport. I don’t know another sport that creates atmosphere on that basis” the PDC chairman Barry Hearn explained at the 2017 World Darts Championship, and there’s no doubt that partnership is allowing the PDC to create their own tier-system where the likes of Rob Cross can develop and go on to make successful livings out of darts. “The Challenge Tour is great because you get to learn to win” explained Cross at the recent European Darts Grand Prix in Sindelfingen, but just like any other sport, there’s a lot of work that goes in to perfecting the art of throwing with Cross practising on average for three hours a day. It’s the equivalent of Cristiano Ronaldo staying behind after training to practice free kicks, except you can do it in the comfort of your own home.
There’s no mistake about it that darts has firmly cemented itself as a sport that offers budding sportspeople the chance to become successful, and even though darts may not be as glamorous a sporting name as football, darts is now changing lives, just ask Rob Cross.