Why is BDO Darts in a Problematic Situation?

The BDO has been making regular headlines for all of the wrong reasons lately. Despite the plethora of issues, the sport continues to see support from punters, who regularly bet on the outcomes of the games and major events.

If you want to get involved, you can find all of the latest darts betting odds here. But how did the original home of professional darts see such an unbelievable fall from grace?

Historical issues

Problems at the BDO are certainly nothing new. After enjoying a purple patch in the ‘70s, by 1984, the organisation had lost many of its main sponsors. By 1989, the only BDO tournament that was nationally televised was the World Championship.

This lack of sponsorship and televised events bothered the players, who felt that there wasn’t enough being done to ensure they could make a living from professional darts. That’s why, the following year, a group of players, including many former World Champions, broke away to form the WDC (now PDC .tv/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the PDC ).

This initial split in the sport was the beginning of decades of problems for the BDO, which continue to this day.

Why is BDO Darts in a Problematic Situation?
Photo: Proshots

WDC/PDC’s exponential growth In 1992

The WDC secured a lucrative contract with Sky Sports, providing dedicated non-stop coverage that could not be matched by BBC’s coverage of the BDO. This sprung the new darts organisation into the limelight almost instantaneously.

The final, fully unified Embassy World Championship took place in 1993 and, following a dispute between the two organisations, the BDO banned the ‘rebel’ players who formed the WDC. The fallout was taken to court and the two settled on what is now known as the ‘Tomlin Order’ which to this day allows players to move freely between the organisations without penalty.

All the while, the WDC continued to pull in television and sponsorship revenue, as the BDO struggled on. The Tomlin Order also saw the WDC renamed and rebranded into the PDC.

BDO becomes a ‘stepping stone’

This paved the way for the progression we now regularly see today in darts. Since Raymond ‘Barney’ van Barneveld made the switch from the BDO to the PDC in 2006, the British Darts Organisation has largely been seen as a ‘stepping stone’ for aspiring professionals.

Some notable names who have ‘switched sides’ have been the current world number one, Michael van Gerwen, Simon Whitlock and, more recently, three-time World Champion Glen Durrant.

This is hardly surprising when you look at the modern state of the two organisations. A perfect example being the recent story of Wayne Warren refusing to return the BDO World Championship trophy, until he is paid the full amount of the winning purse.

In a stark contrast, the PDC amassed record numbers of viewers over the festive period and had a fairytale story that captured imaginations the world over. The irony being that the history-making Fallon Sherrock was previously a BDO Women’s World Darts Championship finalist and refused to take part in the 2020 BDO World Championship due to the changes announced by Chairman Des Jacklin in December. Whether this was related to the reduction in prize money remains to be confirmed.

So, it’s not that difficult to see how and why the BDO is struggling in its current guise and it’s possible that new ownership and management is on the cards.

Why is BDO Darts in a Problematic Situation?
Photo: Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts
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