Premier League Darts
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|Country||United Kingdom, Ireland, Netherlands, Germany|
|Prize fund||£855,000 (2019)|
|Month(s) Played||February – May|
|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, and 888.com. The prize fund rose from £265,000 to £340,000 in 2008, steadily increasing each year for a prize fund of £855,000 in 2019. 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.
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 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.
|2005||Phil Taylor (101.01)||16–4||Colin Lloyd (97.20)||31 legs||G-Mex, Manchester||£150,000||7||11|
|2006||Phil Taylor (101.41)||16–6||Roland Scholten (92.01)||Plymouth Pavilions||£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||£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)|
|2012||Phil Taylor (97.08)||10–7||Simon Whitlock (95.32)||The O2 Arena, London||£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)||£550,000||16|
|2015||Gary Anderson (104.85)||11–7||Michael van Gerwen (105.81)||21 legs||£700,000|
|2016||Michael van Gerwen (104.68)||11–3||Phil Taylor (98.84)||£725,000|
|2017||Michael van Gerwen (104.76)||11–10||Peter Wright (101.06)||£825,000|
|2018||Michael van Gerwen (112.37)||11–4||Michael Smith (97.01)||15[a]|
Records and statistics
- As of 17 May 2018
Total finalist appearances
|Michael van Gerwen||4||2||6||6|
|Raymond van Barneveld||1||0||1||14|
- 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)
- Most 180's by one player in a single match: 11 – Gary Anderson v Simon Whitlock (2011).
- Highest match average: 123.40 – Michael van Gerwen (2016)
- Highest group stage overall average: 107.95 – Phil Taylor (2012)
- Highest average in the final: 112.37 – Michael van Gerwen (2018)
|0-8|| Colin Lloyd |
|8-0|| Wayne Mardle |
|8-0|| Simon Whitlock |
|0-7|| Michael van Gerwen |
|0-7|| Michael van Gerwen |
|0-7|| Dave Chisnall |
|0-7|| Phil Taylor |
|0-7|| Michael van Gerwen |
|2018||Raymond van Barneveld
|0-7|| Michael Smith |
|0-7|| James Wade |
|Ten highest Premier League one-match averages|
|Average||Player||Year (+ Round)||Opponent||Result|
|123.40||Michael van Gerwen||2016, Week 4||Michael Smith||7–1|
|119.50||Peter Wright||2017, Week 5||Adrian Lewis||7–2|
|117.95||Michael van Gerwen||2016, Week 10||Robert Thornton||7–5|
|117.35||Phil Taylor||2012, Week 4||Simon Whitlock||8–4|
|116.90||Michael van Gerwen||2015, Week 12||James Wade||7–0|
|116.67||Michael van Gerwen||2016, Week 5||Peter Wright||7–2|
|116.10||Phil Taylor||2012, Week 13||James Wade||8–1|
|116.01||Phil Taylor||2009, Week 12||John Part||8–3|
|115.80||Phil Taylor||2015, Week 7||Raymond van Barneveld||4–7|
|115.25||Phil Taylor||2016, Week 4||Dave Chisnall||7–5|
|Five highest tournament averages|
|107.48||Michael van Gerwen||2016|
|105.26||Michael van Gerwen||2015|
|104.68||Michael van Gerwen||2017|
|104.11||Michael van Gerwen||2018|
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.
List of Premier League players each year
- 2005: Phil Taylor, Colin Lloyd, Peter Manley, Roland Scholten, Mark Dudbridge, John Part, Wayne Mardle
- 2006: Phil Taylor, Raymond van Barneveld, Roland Scholten, Colin Lloyd, Ronnie Baxter, Peter Manley, Wayne Mardle
- 2007: Phil Taylor, Raymond van Barneveld, Terry Jenkins, Dennis Priestley, Colin Lloyd, Peter Manley, Adrian Lewis, Roland Scholten
- 2008: Phil Taylor, James Wade, Raymond van Barneveld, Adrian Lewis, Wayne Mardle, Peter Manley, Terry Jenkins, John Part
- 2009: Phil Taylor, James Wade, Raymond van Barneveld, Mervyn King, Terry Jenkins, John Part, Jelle Klaasen, Wayne Mardle, plus guest appearances by Robert Thornton, Adrian Lewis, Dennis Priestley, Mark Webster and Gary Anderson
- 2010: Phil Taylor, Simon Whitlock, James Wade, Mervyn King, Ronnie Baxter, Raymond van Barneveld, Adrian Lewis, Terry Jenkins
- 2011: Phil Taylor, Raymond van Barneveld, Gary Anderson, Adrian Lewis, James Wade, Simon Whitlock, Terry Jenkins, Mark Webster
- 2012: Phil Taylor, Simon Whitlock, Andy Hamilton, James Wade, Raymond van Barneveld, Adrian Lewis, Kevin Painter, Gary Anderson
- 2013: Michael van Gerwen, Raymond van Barneveld, Phil Taylor, James Wade, Robert Thornton, Simon Whitlock, Andy Hamilton, Adrian Lewis, Wes Newton, Gary Anderson
- 2014: Michael van Gerwen, Raymond van Barneveld, Phil Taylor, Gary Anderson, Peter Wright, Adrian Lewis, Dave Chisnall, Robert Thornton, Wes Newton, Simon Whitlock
- 2015: Michael van Gerwen, Dave Chisnall, Gary Anderson, Raymond van Barneveld, Phil Taylor, Adrian Lewis, James Wade, Stephen Bunting, Peter Wright, Kim Huybrechts
- 2016: Michael van Gerwen, Phil Taylor, Gary Anderson, Adrian Lewis, Peter Wright, James Wade, Raymond van Barneveld, Robert Thornton, Dave Chisnall, Michael Smith.
- 2017: Michael van Gerwen, Peter Wright, Phil Taylor, Gary Anderson, Dave Chisnall, Raymond van Barneveld, James Wade, Adrian Lewis, Jelle Klaasen, Kim Huybrechts.
- 2018: Michael van Gerwen, Gary Anderson, Peter Wright, Daryl Gurney, Mensur Suljović, Rob Cross, Raymond van Barneveld, Michael Smith, Gerwyn Price, Simon Whitlock
- 2019: Michael van Gerwen, Rob Cross, Peter Wright, Daryl Gurney, Gerwyn Price, Michael Smith, James Wade, Mensur Suljovic, Raymond van Barneveld, plus guest appearances by Chris Dobey, Glen Durrant, Steve Lennon, Luke Humphries, John Henderson, Nathan Aspinall, Max Hopp, Dimitri Van den Bergh and Jeffrey de Zwaan.
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. These are not included in the total number of appearances.
- Whyte & Mackay to sponsor Premier League planetdarts.tv
- "888.com Premier League Darts – Night 11". PDC. 22 April 2011. Archived from the original on 23 December 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2012.
- "PDC Announce Premier League Lineup". Sky Sports. B Sky B. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
- "PDC Announce Premier League Lineup". Sky Sports. B Sky B. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
- "2019 Unibet Premier League Field Announced". Sky Sports. B Sky B. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
- Phillips, Josh. "Premier League 'Contenders' To Replace Injured Anderson". PDC. Retrieved 4 February 2019.