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To capitalise on its investment, the channel introduced a number of new techniques [ vague ] to make the coverage more interesting for armchair fans.
Over ten hours per day of live darts on Sky Sports is not uncommon. Sky television is an advertisement and subscription based channel, and generally after each set a commercial break is taken.
Planet Funk 's single " Chase the Sun " is played in the auditorium and it has become a cult track amongst darts fans, who tend to dance along to the tune during the breaks.
Currently Sky Sports broadcasts six tournaments live each year in both Ireland and the United Kingdom. With ITV being an advertisement channel like Sky Sports, when commercial breaks are taken after 4 legs as the tournaments that ITV cover do not play in sets.
In , Bravo signed a contract to show the European Championships. In , Sky Sports decided to extend their coverage of the Premier League Darts to following the high number of viewers to previous tournaments.
DJ Ötzi 's " Hey! Baby " is played during the breaks on the BBC. Sky Sports introduced more cameras to cover the sport, and many of these innovations have been copied by other broadcasters.
Unique flight cams show the trajectory of the dart through the air in slow motion to sometimes surprising results. A tiny camera has also been inserted into the dartboard itself beside the number 16 — one of the most common doubles — that shows the darts being thrown towards the board.
Sky Sports have also used a player cam ; a tiny camera was fitted to Dennis Priestley's shirt to capture his view of the action while playing.
Elsewhere, floating video cameras capture the action of the watching crowds. Spectators become far more animated and vocal than their BDO counterparts, often acting similar to a football crowd, while holding up humorous placards — often featuring corny puns — regarding the players, and chanting or singing various songs related to the players or to the event in general.
Some supporters even wear face paint or crazy costumes or they dress up as their favourite player via their trademark attire or customary nickname.
The players' wives have also been a focus for the cameras, as they cheered or screeched on their husbands.
In January , Sky One commissioned a programme entitled Darts Players' Wives , primarily focusing on the wives and their relationships.
Another frequent cam is a split-screen camera, with the players on the right, and the dartboard on the left. If the first two darts hit the triple 20, the camera will zoom in to the spot before the third dart is thrown.
John Gwynne has covered all PDC events from the inaugural competition until his retirement in Dave Lanning covered all events up until December , when he retired.
He brought his own unique brand of commentary to the game, and was a cult figure amongst darts fans and sport fans alike.
He continued to commentate until his death in Jeff Stelling was the original presenter of Sky Sports' darts coverage, but most of the events are now presented by Clark.
In addition, the Premier League was fronted by Gary Newbon. ITV events were fronted by Matt Smith from to but are now hosted by Jacqui Oatley from who became the first regular female darts host in the UK.
Ned Boulting presents features and interviews and deputises if the presenter is unavailable. Bravo employed James Richardson and Dave Gorman to front its coverage until the channel closed in The PDC sought to attract a younger audience of both sexes for darts and market the game as a night out rather than just as a sporting event.
Through the years, it was not uncommon to see politicians, musicians, football players, boxers and other sporting personalities attending their events.
The British Darts Organisation have subsequently sought to emulate most of these innovations. Players enter matches with their own signature theme music whilst flanked by security men and, until , female valets down to the oche.
A "big-time" atmosphere was also created by using smoke machines and pyrotechnics during these sometimes elaborate entrances, similar to those used in boxing or wrestling.
At the oche, players only drink iced water during matches. Though this was intended to further the game's image, which had been tarnished by players' reputation for consuming large quantities of alcohol.
The water is also needed to prevent dehydration: with the many lights and packed crowds, temperatures have been measured at over degree Celsius degree Fahrenheit during some games.
Inside the venues, action is relayed via giant video screens for the large crowds. The BDO now also has video screens, while maintaining their traditional "light boards" of lightbulbs, showing where each dart lands for the benefit of the crowd.
Eric Bristow , the most successful player in the first few years of the World Championship, had his nickname "The Crafty Cockney" emblazoned on the back of his shirt.
Very few dart players had their own nicknames until the Professional Darts Corporation circuit made it almost customary for every player to acquire a nickname.
This helps to create a new generation of characters with which its audience could identify. However, the tag never caught on and it was not until a later tournament that he came out to the tune The Power by Snap!
Sky Sports even filmed vignettes where a kilt wearing Jamie had his face painted blue and ran through woods throwing his darts whilst looking menacing.
As the only player to wear a shirt, tie and waistcoat whilst playing, Rod Harrington 's "Prince of Style" tag appeared apt. Bob Anderson, now living in Clevedon in Somerset , is known as The Limestone Cowboy, after the limestone hills of Wiltshire where Bob used to live, and the fact that he enjoys Country and Western music.
This was once taken even further, with Anderson once walking to the stage accompanied by a horse. Bravo broadcast the European Championships for the first time in , after ITV4 televised the first running in The World Championship is a single-elimination seeded tournament beginning in late December and finishing in early January.
It is the biggest of the PDC tournaments and has the largest prize fund of any darts competition. Held at the Circus Tavern , Purfleet between and , the championship moved to a bigger venue at Alexandra Palace from Phil Taylor has dominated this tournament, reaching the final for the first 14 years between and and winning fourteen titles, including eight successive titles between and These are usually added to each player's haul when describing their achievements — hence Taylor is a time champion, van Barneveld 5, Part 3 and Priestley 2.
Held each year in June at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton — , and from in March at Butlins, Minehead, the UK Open is played over three days with players in a single elimination tournament.
After each round a draw is held where there is no protection for seeded players. This has earned it the nickname The FA Cup of darts.
Phil Taylor is the most successful player in the tournament's history, with five victories. Matches are contested over legs rather than sets, presenting the prospect of some surprising results and upsets.
Phil Taylor has been the dominant player in this event, winning 16 titles and being undefeated in his first 15 finals.
Its original venue was the Casino Rooms in Rochester, Kent until , with one staging in Rosslare in before moving in to its current home at the CityWest Hotel in Dublin, Ireland.
This tournament has shorter opening rounds and players must commence and finish each leg on a double including the option of the bull, which is a format not used in any other major televised event.
Taylor has dominated the event since its inception, with 11 victories. Players who had reached the finals of each organisations major tournaments for the previous two years were invited to compete in the Grand Slam.
It is held over 9 days during November and shown live on Sky Sports. The first four tournaments were shown live on ITV4, the Grand Slam of Darts was ITV's first networked darts tournament since pulling the plug on darts coverage in Introduced in , this tournament was open to the top 32 players on the Players Championship Order of Merit until In the tournament was expanded to 64 players still using the Players Championship Order of Merit.
It is broadcast live on ITV4. In it changed to the top 32 in the European tour Order of Merit. It has increased since then. Phil Taylor won the first four editions of the tournament, before Simon Whitlock scooped his first, and so far only, major title in Since it has been held at the Marshall Arena , Milton Keynes and been the first tournament after the World Championship.
For five months, ten of the biggest names from the PDC circuit compete in a league table, with matches held across the country at different venues.
Phil Taylor topped the table after the weekly rounds for the first eight instances the Premier League has been staged, going on to win the play-offs six times.
Taylor's reign ended when Michael van Gerwen joined the league in and topped the table after the weekly rounds in each of the seven times since, winning five times.
Glen Durrant was the third player to top the table, doing so in his debut year in The World Series of Darts is a series of tournaments taking place on various continents.
These tournaments are non-ranked. The field of players usually exists out of a number of eight PDC top-players participating on invitation, complemented by another eight national qualifiers.
Since , the players earn points over the tour to compete in the World Series of Darts Finals at the end of the year.
England and the Netherlands have won the title on four occasions, with the pairing of Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis triumphant each time for England, and Raymond van Barneveld being involved in all four Dutch wins.
In , Scotland became just the third nation to lift the trophy with a defeat over the Republic of Ireland in the final.
The second of the new tournaments for was open to all darts players, from both the BDO and PDC, aged between 18 and The final was televised live on Sky Sports at Alexandra Palace before the final of the World Championship, in later years before the final of the Premier League.
They will also be invited to compete in the Grand Slam of Darts. In the age limit was changed to under Dimitri Van den Bergh became the first player to defend his title by beating Martin Schindler in the final though he could not retain it for a third time due to his age.
With shorter matches and the floor set up, a different kind of pressure applies compared to televised events and a different set of results can be produced.
The calendar will feature features 30 Players Championships and 13 European Tour events. The European Tour events are different to the Players Championships and are played on a stage in front of an often sizeable crowd.
It furthered the PDC's aim to develop a world darts circuit. The 32 qualifiers played down to the last 2 in a floor tournament and the final were televised live on Sky Sports before the final of the World Matchplay.
They were also invited to compete in the Grand Slam of Darts. The match was played after the semi-finals of the World Matchplay in Blackpool.
It was first to six legs of which Bromberg was 5—3 down before making a comeback to win 6—5. The World Series ran for just one year in Phil Taylor won the US Open in and The tournament was reduced down to Player's Championship status for the and editions.
It was also the first tournament to be broadcast only by the internet. This tournament was discontinued after the edition.
There have been two head-to-head matches bringing both respective world champions together in non-affiliated contests. Billed as the Match of the Century, Phil Taylor beat Raymond van Barneveld 21—10 at Wembley Conference Centre on 7 November , to be unofficially crowned the first ever undisputed World Champion since the split in darts.
Phil Taylor was leading the match 5—2 in sets before it was unexpectedly abandoned. This event was staged twice in and In the Masters of Darts event four top players from both darts circuits together for the first major tournament confrontation since the two organisations separated.
The players were split into two groups, sharing it with only members of their affiliated organisation.
Each player then vied against all players from the opposition, with one point awarded for winning a match. Following conclusion of the format, the winner of each respective group played the runner-up at the semi-final stage.
In a rematch of their unfinished head-to-head clash, Phil Taylor beat Andy Fordham convincingly in the final, 7—1, to be crowned the first Master of Darts.
While beating Raymond van Barneveld BDO World Champion at the time 4—0 and 5—2 along the way, the undefeated Taylor only lost 5 sets during the entire tournament.
European Darts Championship. Players Championship Finals. World Series of Darts Finals. Champions League of Darts.
UK Open Qualifiers. European Darts Tour. Austrian Darts Championship. Austrian Darts Open. Belgian Darts Championship. Dutch Darts Championship. Dutch Darts Masters.
European Darts Grand Prix. European Darts Matchplay. European Darts Open. European Darts Trophy. German Darts Championship. German Darts Grand Prix.
German Darts Masters. Gibraltar Darts Trophy. Hungarian Darts Open. International Darts Open. UK Masters. World Series of Darts.
Auckland Darts Masters. Brisbane Darts Masters. Dubai Darts Masters. Melbourne Darts Masters. New South Wales Darts Masters.
Nordic Darts Masters. Perth Darts Masters. Queensland Darts Masters. Shanghai Darts Masters. Singapore Darts Masters. Tokyo Darts Masters.
Sydney Darts Masters. Schottland Peter Wright. Polen Krzysztof Ratajski. Players Championships 29 Niederlande Michael van Gerwen. England Michael Smith.
Premier League Darts Belgien Kim Huybrechts.