Premier League Darts
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2011)|
|Country||United Kingdom and Ireland|
|Prize fund||£700,000 (2015)|
|Month(s) Played||February – May|
|Raymond van Barneveld|
The Premier League Darts is a darts tournament which launched on 20 January 2005 on Sky Sports. The league is now played weekly from February to May, having originally started as a fortnightly fixture. The tournament originally featured seven players and now sees ten of the biggest names from the PDC circuit competing in a double round-robin format, with matches held across the United Kingdom and Ireland at different venues. The top four players in the PDC Order of Merit are joined by six wildcard selections to make up the ten-man field. The current sponsor is Betway.
The previous sponsors were McCoy's, Whyte and Mackay, who succeeded Holsten, having signed a three-year contract to support the event in October 2007, and 888.com. The prize fund rose from £265,000 to £340,000 in 2008, steadily increasing each year for a prize fund of £550,000 in 2014. The winner currently receives £150,000.
Phil Taylor has dominated this event, winning six of the ten competitions to date. He went unbeaten throughout the first three seasons before James Wade ended his 44 match run in the first match of the 2008 season. A new champion was to be crowned after Mervyn King defeated him in the 2009 semi-finals. Wade defeated King 13–8 in the final, to pick up the £125,000 first prize. Phil Taylor defeated James Wade the following season to claim his fifth title in the competition in 2010, however he was defeated in the semi-final of the 2011 tournament. Gary Anderson became champion in his debut season by defeating Adrian Lewis in a repeat of the world championship final earlier that year. Phil Taylor reclaimed the title the following year, after defeating Simon Whitlock in the 2012 final, but lost the 2013 final to Michael van Gerwen. A year later, Taylor - who lost four of his first five games of the season and only secured qualification to the playoffs on the final league night - lost to eventual champion Raymond van Barneveld in the semi-finals.
The matches have been broadcast on Thursday nights on Sky Sports since the tournament inception. Originally the league alternated with Premier League Snooker one week and Premier League Darts the next. From 2006, the snooker moved to late autumn – giving the Premier League darts a straight weekly run in the spring.
American sports channel OLN aired the 2006 Premier League Darts season on a slight delay, in August 2006.
German sports channel DSF (Deutsches Sport Fernsehen) has broadcast many matches of the past two years live on TV and gives coverages of a selection of matches.
The tournament has had five title sponsors since it was formed in 2005. They are 888.com (2005, 2011), Holsten (2006–2007), Whyte and Mackay (2008–2010), McCoy's (2012–2013) and Betway (2014–present).
|2005||Phil Taylor||16–4||Colin Lloyd||31 legs||G-Mex, Manchester||888.com||£150,000||7||11|
|2006||Phil Taylor (101.41)||16–6||Roland Scholten (92.01)||Plymouth Pavilions||Holsten||£167,500|
|2007||Phil Taylor (99.20)||16–6||Terry Jenkins (90.81)||The Brighton Centre||£265,000||8||15|
|2008||Phil Taylor (108.36)||16–8||James Wade (100.14)||Cardiff International Arena||Whyte & Mackay||£340,000|
|2009||James Wade (90.38)||13–8||Mervyn King (85.83)||25 legs||Wembley Arena||£405,000|
|2010||Phil Taylor (111.67)||10–8||James Wade (100.08)||19 legs||£410,000|
|2011||Gary Anderson (94.67)||10–4||Adrian Lewis (85.75)||888.com|
|2012||Phil Taylor (97.08)||10–7||Simon Whitlock (95.32)||The O2 Arena, London||McCoy's||£450,000|
|2013||Michael van Gerwen (103.29)||10–8||Phil Taylor (104.10)||£520,000||10|
|2014||Raymond van Barneveld (101.93)||10–6||Michael van Gerwen (102.98)||Betway||£550,000||16|
- Most titles: 6 – Phil Taylor
- Longest unbeaten run: 44 matches – Phil Taylor (2005–2008)
- Biggest victories (league stage): 11–1 Phil Taylor v Wayne Mardle (2005), 11–1 Phil Taylor v Peter Manley (2005).
- Biggest victories (playoff stages): 16–4 Phil Taylor v Colin Lloyd (2005 final)
- Whitewashes (since removal of "dead" legs in 2006): Colin Lloyd 8–0 Terry Jenkins (2007), Phil Taylor 8–0 Wayne Mardle (2008), James Wade 8-0 Simon Whitlock (2012), Michael van Gerwen 7-0 Phil Taylor (2014)
- Most 180's in a single match: 11 – Gary Anderson v Simon Whitlock (2011).
- Highest average: 117.35 – Phil Taylor (2012)
Since the tournament made its debut in 2005, Phil Taylor has been the only player to appear in every Premier League competition (although Raymond van Barneveld has competed in every Premier League since joining the PDC). From 2005 until the 2010 tournament, the top six players in the PDC Order of Merit after the PDC World Darts Championship automatically qualified, with one wildcard (2005 and 2006) and two wildcards (2007–2010) chosen by either the PDC or Sky Sports. From the 2011 tournament, only the top four in the PDC Order of Merit automatically qualified, with four wildcards (2011 and 2012) chosen by both the PDC and Sky Sports. In 2013, the tournament grew from eight players to ten, with the top four players in the PDC Order of Merit automatically qualifying and six other players chosen as Wildcards on the basis of their performance in the past year or in earlier editions of the Premier League.
|10||Raymond van Barneveld||2006–present|
|Made a guest appearance in 2009|
|Gary Anderson||2011–present||Made a guest appearance in 2009|
|Michael van Gerwen||2013–present|
|Robert Thornton||2013–2014||Made a guest appearance in 2009|
|Dennis Priestley||2007||Made a guest appearance in 2009|
|Mark Webster||2011||Made a guest appearance in 2009|
- Whyte & Mackay to sponsor Premier League planetdarts.tv
- "888.com Premier League Darts - Night 11". PDC. 22 April 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2012.