PDC Chairman Barry Hearn targeting full crowd at World Matchplay: "Let's get the show on the road!"

With the government roadmap in place and vaccinations going well, there is cautious optimism at least in the UK of at least a semi return to normality and that includes at darts events.

With all restrictions targeted to be lifted on 21 June, PDC Chairman Barry Hearn joined the Darts Show Podcast with hopes of a full crowd at the World Matchplay in Blackpool later on this year.

"We're looking out at a blue sky, and it's a blue sky down that tunnel that's been in front of us for the last 12 months," said Hearn on The Darts Show podcast.

"We're feeling a little bit more optimistic and excited about the potential return of live crowds to live sport, which is so essential for our country."

"My dream is World Matchplay in Blackpool, full crowd, no social distancing. It's party time, baby! Let's get the show on the road!

"We have to be led by the numbers. People are dying. This is a serious, serious pandemic. I had Covid in October. Fortunately I didn't have to go to hospital, but it wasn't a pleasant experience. So sympathy with those that have lost their loved ones, and that's a priority over everything else.

"Small steps. We are approaching the promised land."

Premier League "might get a small crowd"

With the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible set to potentially be a pilot event for the return of crowds, the question has come round about the end of the Premier League in Milton Keynes being similar.

"We're talking to the government at the moment about the World Snooker Championship and the crowds that we're going to have in," he explained.

"The feeling there is that it is a series of small steps, but accelerating steps. The most important thing on these trial events, pilot events, call them what you will, is to come out of it with data that educates the wider picture.

"The bigger picture is the series of small steps, leading to a quite short-term return to normality. That's the dream. April and May is [a case of] 'let's test it, get the data, see what it tells us'.

"I think we might get a small crowd in towards the end of the Premier League. Not massive. But we've got to work within the rules. We haven't come this far to break rank. We've got a plan, and it's moving forward.

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PDC World Matchplay Barry Hearn

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