Premier League Darts

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Premier League
Premier league darts logo.jpg
Tournament information
Venue Various
Location Various
Country United Kingdom, Ireland, Netherlands, Germany
Established 2005
Organisation(s) PDC
Format Legs
Prize fund £825,000 (2017)
Month(s) Played February – May
Current champion(s)
Netherlands Michael van Gerwen

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 Europe 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 Unibet.

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,[1] and 888.com. The prize fund rose from £265,000 to £340,000 in 2008, steadily increasing each year for a prize fund of £825,000 in 2017. The winner currently receives £250,000.

Phil Taylor has dominated this event, winning six of the thirteen tournaments he appeared in. 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 début 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.

Television coverage[edit]

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. In 2018 BBC America started airing Premier League Dart on Thursday nights.

German sports channel Sport1 broadcasts most matches live on TV and gives coverages of a selection of matches.

The PDC announced in January 2007 that the contract with Sky Television for coverage of the Premier League had been extended to 2010.[2]

Sponsorship[edit]

The tournament has had six 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 (2014–2017). Unibet was the sixth when they took over for the 2018 tournament.

Finals[edit]

Year Final Tournament
Champion Score Runner-up Best of Venue Prize-pool Players Venues
2005 England Phil Taylor (101.01) 16–4 England Colin Lloyd (97.20) 31 legs G-Mex, Manchester £150,000 7 11
2006 England Phil Taylor (101.41) 16–6 Netherlands Roland Scholten (92.01) Plymouth Pavilions £167,500
2007 England Phil Taylor (99.20) 16–6 England Terry Jenkins (90.81) The Brighton Centre £265,000 8 15
2008 England Phil Taylor (108.36) 16–8 England James Wade (100.14) Cardiff International Arena £340,000
2009 England James Wade (90.38) 13–8 England Mervyn King (85.83) 25 legs Wembley Arena £405,000
2010 England Phil Taylor (111.67) 10–8 England James Wade (100.08) 19 legs £410,000
2011 Scotland Gary Anderson (94.67) 10–4 England Adrian Lewis (85.75)
2012 England Phil Taylor (97.08) 10–7 Australia Simon Whitlock (95.32) The O2 Arena, London £450,000
2013 Netherlands Michael van Gerwen (103.29) 10–8 England Phil Taylor (104.10) £520,000 10
2014 Netherlands Raymond van Barneveld (101.93) 10–6 Netherlands Michael van Gerwen (102.98) £550,000 16
2015 Scotland Gary Anderson (104.85) 11–7 Netherlands Michael van Gerwen (105.81) 21 legs £700,000
2016 Netherlands Michael van Gerwen (104.68) 11–3 England Phil Taylor (98.84) £725,000
2017 Netherlands Michael van Gerwen (104.76) 11–10 Scotland Peter Wright (101.06) £825,000
2018 Netherlands Michael van Gerwen (112.37) 11–4 England Michael Smith (97.01) 15[a]
  1. ^ A scheduled night at Westpoint Arena was cancelled due to Storm Emma. An extra round was held at Rotterdam Ahoy to compensate.

Records and statistics[edit]

As of 17 May 2018

Total finalist appearances[edit]

Player Won Runner-up Finals Appearances
England Phil Taylor 6 2 8 13
Netherlands Michael van Gerwen 4 2 6 6
Scotland Gary Anderson 2 0 2 8
England James Wade 1 2 3 8
Netherlands Raymond van Barneveld 1 0 1 13
England Terry Jenkins 0 1 1 5
England Mervyn King 0 1 1 2
England Adrian Lewis 0 1 1 10
England Colin Lloyd 0 1 1 3
Netherlands Roland Scholten 0 1 1 3
Australia Simon Whitlock 0 1 1 6
Scotland Peter Wright 0 1 1 5
England Michael Smith 0 1 1 2

Tournament records[edit]

High averages[edit]

Ten highest Premier League one-match averages
Average Player Year (+ Round) Opponent Result
123.40 Netherlands Michael van Gerwen 2016, Week 4 England Michael Smith 7-1
119.50 Scotland Peter Wright 2017, Week 5 England Adrian Lewis 7-2
117.95 Netherlands Michael van Gerwen 2016, Week 10 Scotland Robert Thornton 7-5
117.35 England Phil Taylor 2012, Week 4 Australia Simon Whitlock 8-4
116.90 Netherlands Michael van Gerwen 2015, Week 12 England James Wade 7-0
116.67 Netherlands Michael van Gerwen 2016, Week 5 Scotland Peter Wright 7-2
116.10 England Phil Taylor 2012, Week 13 England James Wade 8-1
116.01 England Phil Taylor 2009, Week 12 Canada John Part 8-3
115.80 England Phil Taylor 2015, Week 7 Netherlands Raymond van Barneveld 4-7
115.25 England Phil Taylor 2016, Week 4 England Dave Chisnall 7-5
Five highest tournament averages
Average Player Year
107.48 Netherlands Michael van Gerwen 2016
106.73 England Phil Taylor 2012
105.26 Netherlands Michael van Gerwen 2015
104.68 Netherlands Michael van Gerwen 2017
104.11 Netherlands Michael van Gerwen 2018

Appearances[edit]

Since the tournament made its debut in 2005, Phil Taylor made an appearance in every Premier League competition until his retirement following the 2018 PDC World Darts Championship. Raymond van Barneveld has competed in every Premier League since joining the PDC in 2006. 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.

In 2018, Rob Cross, Daryl Gurney, Mensur Suljović and Gerwyn Price will be the latest players to make their Premier League debuts.

List of Premier League players each year[edit]

a. 1 After Mardle withdrew from the 2009 league due to illness in week 12, Lewis, Anderson, Thornton, Priestley and Webster all made appearances in a series of challenge matches.

References[edit]

External links[edit]