Darts has been around for a long time, but it used to be known as a pub sport for many people.
That has changed drastically, making darts a sport that welcomes thousands of fans into huge-capacity arenas for competitions, with hundreds of thousands more tuning in on television. As a result, both the number of fans and the number of players have increased significantly in recent times.
However, the question remains − how did this British pub sport gain such an astonishing level of popularity so quickly? Keep on reading the article to find out the three main reasons for that!
The Changing Image
It’s likely that darts wouldn’t emerge as a real sport if the officials didn’t forbid the players from guzzling pints of bitter and smoking cigarettes between throws. Those who have been lobbying for darts have realized that players cannot drink alcohol and smoke while a match is underway if the game is to ever evolve outside its pub roots.
Darts has nowadays become a sport that is on par with boxing or MMA in terms of popularity and prize money. Most people are now recognizing darts as a sporting activity, and with over 50 million players worldwide, it has become one of the most popular sports in the world.
More Players Than Ever Before
At this point, an estimated 17 million people are playing darts in the US alone. The surge in television interest and popularity has been reflected in a big increase in prize money, a factor that has changed the sport beyond recognition in recent years.
Rob Cross, who won the 2017 World Darts Championship, received a staggering £400,000 in prize money. To put things into perspective, Phil Taylor, the winner of the 2000 Championship had received a £31,000 for his World Title. This only goes to show how much the sport has grown over the years and also underlines the phenomenal work that PDC chairman Barry Hearn has done for the sport.
One of the darts pioneers who contributed to the popularity of the sport was Phil “The Power” Taylor. This 16-time world champion has been one of the major promoters of the game, letting his arrows do the talking most of the time. Thanks to him and other ambassadors of the sport, the number of players participating in professional darts events has skyrocketed in the last decade.
Betting on Darts
Yet another reason why darts is attracting more attention is definitely betting on darts. Darts betting has become widely popular over the last decade, and it has emerged as one of the fastest growing markets in the industry. With a vast range of betting markets to bet on across a number of tournaments, darts has become a top choice for many gamblers across the globe. More experienced gamblers often visit sites where the best darts betting offers are presented to enhance their chances of making a profit. '
The 2019 edition of the World Matchplay event will be held on July 20−28. The prize money for this year’s tournament will be a staggering £700,000, and the winner will go home with £150,000. The defending champion is Gary Anderson of Scotland, who won last year’s tournament after a marathon overtime victory (21-19) over Mensur Suljovic.
Anderson is a 7/1 favorite to win again this year, but he isn’t the man on the top of the board. The current world #1 Michael Van Gerwen is an 11/10 favorite to win the 2019 World Matchplay trophy. Rob Cross, the 2018 PDC World Darts Champion and the #2 ranked player in the world is priced at 8/1, just behind Gerwen and Anderson.
Darts isn’t as prevalent as football or tennis yet. However, it is played on a professional level, with full-time pros competing for massive earnings all over the world. Additionally, anyone can play darts as there are virtually no physical requirements to compete. We believe that the greatness of darts as a sport in itself is the reason for its increasing popularity and growing professional scene. Finally, It’s a fun and exciting sport to both watch and follow.