If you’re here, it’s because you already know that darts is an exciting sport with little of the downtime that is typical of many professional sports. But you are probably wondering what TV channels broadcast live darts events. Read on to learn!
In a hurry? In the US and Canada, the main option for watching darts is DAZN. In the UK, darts is mostly on Sky Sports, which you can stream through NOW. Kayo Sports is the main place for darts in Australia.
Professional darts are shown in many different places. There is specific information below.
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If you have been to a bar, pub, or restaurant at any point in your life, you have likely seen people playing darts. In fact, there is a good chance that you have played darts at least once by yourself or with friends.
You likely know how exhilarating it can be to hit a triple 20 or hit a bullseye to win a match. But you may or may not know how thrilling it can be to watch this fast-paced game when played by best players in the world.
There are two primary groups that control the world of professional darts. But how it got this way is a long and contentious story.
Professional Darts History
In 1973, the British Darts Organization (BDO) was founded to serve as the official governing body of the game in Britain. Three years later, it was one of the original members of the World Darts Federation (WDF).
The BDO retained its status as one of the principal organizations for professional darts players until 1992. That year, the top players, led by Phil Taylor, formed a rival group called the World Darts Council (WDC).
In 1993, members of the WDC said that they would not participate in the next Embassy World Championship unless it was staged by the WDC itself. In response, the BDO banned WDC members from participating in any of its events. Eventually, the WDC and BDO reached an agreement recognizing the WDF as the sport’s governing body.
The two sides also agreed that players could be members of either body without penalty. The WDC would rename itself as the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) as part of the agreement that ended the dispute between itself and the BDO.
Between 1994 and 2020, the PDC slowly grew to become the top darts organization in Europe. It generally had more success marketing its product and attracting top stars from the rival BDO. In 2020, the BDO filed for bankruptcy and had its assets liquidated.
This largely occurred because the PDC marketed darts as a sport that was accessible to the people regardless of whether they played professionally or played in a beer league. One of the ways that this was done was to have celebrities, politicians, and top amateurs make appearances at various events.
The PDC also took great pains to turn their top players into characters who had their own nicknames and distinct personalities. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for players to have their own entrance music and to be accompanied to the throwing area by valets and security guards.
Taking these actions made it easier for fans to connect to their favorite players, which made them more marketable to casual and diehard audiences alike.
Professional Darts Corporation
The PDC runs most of the biggest darts competitions.
- Premier League Darts (Feb 3 – May 26): Once a week, ten of the best players in the world take part in the Premier League of darts. Their matches are televised on Sky Sports in the United Kingdom, Sports1 in Germany, and BBC America in the United States.
- UK Open (Mar 4 – 6): The “FA Cup of Darts” has been going since 2003. It features 128 ProTour members and 32 qualifying amateurs.
- World Matchplay (Jul 16 – 24): This tournament is one leg of the Triple Crown of the PDC. To achieve victory in a given match, you must win 10 legs, and you must be at least two legs clear of your opponent. This event has been contested since 1994 and includes participants from several different continents.
- World Grand Prix (Oct 2): The successor to the World Pairs tournament, this event has been held every year since 1998. To win a leg in this event, you must hit a double on both your first shot and your last. This is true even if you hit a bullseye to start a leg.
- Grand Slam of Darts (Nov 12 – 20): This event used to be unique in that it featured players from the BDO and PDC competing together. However, as the BDO no longer exists, it is contested by members of the PDC only.
- Players Championship Finals (Nov 25 – 27): The top 64 players on the Players Championship Order of Merit participate in this tournament. The rankings are determined based on how well competitors do at PDC events that are not shown on television.
- World Darts Championship (Dec 14 – Jan 2): The world championship is the most important tournament in darts. Peter Wright is current world champion at this event that takes place each year at Alexandra Palace in London and typically includes a field of 128 players and has been contested since 1978.
World Darts Federation
The WDF sanctions events throughout the world such as the NSW Great Lakes Open in Australia (Mar 5 – 6), the Port City Open in the United States (Feb 25 – 27), and the Slovak Masters in Slovakia (Feb 25 – 27).
There is also the WDF World Championship, which will be held for the first time this year (Apr 2 – 3). It will be broadcast by Eurosport and streamed by Discovery+.
Current State of Professional Darts
Gerwyn “The Iceman” Price is considered to be the top player in the world today. The 36-year-old from Wales is one of the first from his country to make a name for himself among the top players in the world. However, he is not the only name that darts fans recognize when they hear them.
Until 2021, Michael “The Green Machine” van Gerwen held the top spot in the PDC rankings, and he has won a total of 75 PDC events in his career. He is currently number three in the PDC rankings and is widely considered to be the most successful player in the modern era.
Although he has never won a major PDC event, Michael “Bully Boy” Smith won the under-21 World Championship in 2013 and is still generally a contender to win any event he enters. Peter “Snakebite” Wright won the PDC World Darts Championship in 2020 and 2022, and he is currently ranked second in the world by the PDC.
Gary “The Flying Scotsman” Anderson won the event in 2015 and 2016 and was once ranked number one in both the BDO and WDF rankings. In 2012, Jose de Sousa became the first man from Portugal to qualify for the PDC World Darts Championship, and he would win his first televised major event in 2020.
Phil “The Power” Taylor may be the greatest to ever play the game. He won the PDC World Darts Championships every year from 1995 and 2002, and he was also named PDC player of the year six times between 2006 and 2012. He was one of the 16 players who originally broke away from the BDO to play in the PDC.
The current top twenty players according to PDC are:
- Gerwyn Price
- Peter Wright
- Michael van Gerwen
- James Wade
- Michael Smith
- Gary Anderson
- Jose de Sousa
- Dimitri Van den Bergh
- Jonny Clayton
- Rob Cross
- Joe Cullen
- Krzysztof Ratajski
- Dave Chisnall
- Dirk van Duijvenbode
- Nathan Aspinall
- Ryan Searle
- Mervyn King
- Luke Humphries
- Stephen Bunting
- Danny Noppert
Part of the WDF’s mission is to create a competitive and profitable environment for its top women’s players. At this time, even the top women are not able to making a living at darts in contrast to the to 60 or so men. But this is changing.
Currently, Deta Hardman is recognized as the top female player by the WDF. Other top players include Anca Zijlstra, Corrine Hammond, and Paula Murphy.
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How to Watch Darts
The easiest way to watch professional darts whenever you want is to sign up for PDC TV. You can watch current and historic matches as well as other content simply by pushing a button on your device.
If you live in Britain, you will likely be able to watch live coverage of PDC tournaments on Sky Sports or its streaming service NOW. But some darts matches are shown on BBC.
In the United States and Canada, it is possible to watch your favorite darts players by subscribing to DAZN. (DAZN also provides access in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.) The WDF has a partnership deal with Discovery+ to broadcast select events.
Kayo Sports streams a substantial amount of darts competition in Australia.
Devices to Live Stream Professional Darts
PDC TV supports very few devices. In general, you can use a web browser or Android and iOS devices. Note, however, that you can run it on a laptop, which can be connected to a TV with an HDMI cable.
DAZN and NOW both support far more devices. These include all the above as well as Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku devices. They support smart TVs from LG, Samsung, Roku TV, Vizio TV
The world of professional darts is a fascinating one that has a rich history and a future that is full of potential. Although the sport is most popular in Britain and other European countries, it has a global presence. You can watch the game’s most important events on Sky Sports, DAZN, or by subscribing to PDC TV.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between PDC and WDF?
The PDC and the WDF are both responsible for promoting dart tournaments. However, the PDC is merely an organizing body while the WDF is the sport’s governing body. Another key difference is that the PDC organizes events in Britain while the WDF organizes events throughout the entire world.
Whatever happened to the BDO?
In 2020, the BDO was liquidated after years of declining popularity and increasing financial instability. Prior to its liquidation in 2020, it had been demoted by the WDF to an associate member because of its inability to organize tournaments in a proper and profitable manner.
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