Champions League of Darts

The Champions League of Darts, also known as the Paddy Power Champions League of Darts for sponsorship purposes,[1] is an annual non-ranking darts tournament organised by the Professional Darts Corporation. Featuring just the top eight players in the PDC, it is played over two days in a group and then knockout format and is the smallest of the PDC's televised premier events. It was first held in September 2016 at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, the inaugural champion was Phil Taylor. The reigning champion is Michael van Gerwen. The tournament is the first PDC event to be broadcast on the BBC.

Champions League of Darts
Tournament information
VenueMotorpoint Arena Cardiff (2016–17)
Brighton Centre (2018)
Morningside Arena (2019)
LocationCardiff (2016–17)
Brighton (2018)
Leicester (2019)
CountryUnited Kingdom
Established2016
Organisation(s)PDC
FormatLegs, Group Stage and Knockout
Prize fund£250,000 (2019)
Month(s) PlayedSeptember
Current champion(s)
Netherlands Michael van Gerwen

HistoryEdit

The details of the inaugural tournament were announced by the PDC on 9 February 2016, in conjunction with the announcement of a new broadcasting deal between the PDC and the BBC.[2] With the PDC 2016 calendar having already been announced in August 2015, a Barnsley round of the PDC Player Championship was moved to accommodate it.[3] A second Champions League tournament was duly announced as part of the August 2016 release of the 2017 calendar.[2]

In addition to the prize money allocated to players, the tournament is known for a £100,000 cash prize given to the crowd in the event of a nine-dart finish. This prize is believed to be the biggest crowd prize in world sport.[4]

EligibilityEdit

Only the top eight players on the PDC Order of Merit qualified for the inaugural tournament, signifying the best eight players in the PDC (in 2016 based on the order following the World Matchplay in July[2]). Starting with 2017, the reigning champion was given a guaranteed slot, meaning only the top seven and the champion would qualify if the champion was not in the top eight.[5]

FormatEdit

The tournament format is a group stage followed by a knockout stage. The group stage features two groups of four, who meet each other in a round-robin format, i.e. each player playing their group opponents once in a single match. The best two players in each group advance to the semi-finals, the winners meeting in the final. There is no third place play-off. Matches in the group stage are won by the first player to win 10 legs (best of 19), while the knockout stages are first to 11 (best of 21).

Champions League of Darts finalsEdit

Year Champion (average in final) Score Runner-up (average in final) Prize money Sponsor Venue
Total Champion Runner-up
2016   Phil Taylor (98.97) 11–5   Michael van Gerwen (100.92) £250,000 £100,000 £50,000 Unibet   Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
2017   Mensur Suljović (87.85) 11–9   Gary Anderson (98.03)
2018   Gary Anderson (101.47) 11–4   Peter Wright (93.85) Paddy Power   Brighton Centre, Brighton
2019   Michael van Gerwen (100.87) 11–10   Peter Wright (97.42)   Morningside Arena, Leicester
2020 Cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic.[6]

Records and statisticsEdit

As of 20 October 2019

Total finalist appearancesEdit

Rank Player Nationality Won Runner-up Finals Appearances
1 Gary Anderson   Scotland 1 1 2 4
Michael van Gerwen   Netherlands 1 1 2 4
3 Mensur Suljović   Austria 1 0 1 2
Phil Taylor   England 1 0 1 2
5 Peter Wright   Scotland 0 2 2 4
  • Active players are shown in bold

High averagesEdit

Ten highest Champions League of Darts one-match averages
Average Player Year (+ Round) Opponent Result
111.23   Michael van Gerwen 2018, Group stage   Dave Chisnall 10–2
108.31   Phil Taylor 2016, Group stage   Robert Thornton 10–2
107.49   Phil Taylor 2016, Group stage   Michael van Gerwen 10–4
105.67   Michael van Gerwen 2016, Semi-finals   Gary Anderson 11–5
105.54   Michael van Gerwen 2019, Semi-finals   Gerwyn Price 11–10
105.53   Mensur Suljović 2018, Group stage   Peter Wright 10–7
104.13   Michael van Gerwen 2016, Group stage   Phil Taylor 4–10
103.49   James Wade 2016, Group stage   Adrian Lewis 10–3
103.52   Peter Wright 2019, Semi-finals   Michael Smith 11–5
103.40   Michael van Gerwen 2019, Group stage   James Wade 10–8
Five highest Champions League of Darts losing averages
Average Player Year (+ Round) Opponent Result
104.13   Michael van Gerwen 2016, Group stage   Phil Taylor 4–10
102.89   Michael van Gerwen 2017, Group stage   Phil Taylor 9–10
102.49   Gerwyn Price 2019, Semi-finals   Michael van Gerwen 10–11
102.13   Peter Wright 2018, Group stage   Mensur Suljović 7–10
101.48   Gary Anderson 2018, Group stage   Daryl Gurney 8–10

BroadcasterEdit

The tournament is the first PDC event to be broadcast on the BBC, after they ended their contract to broadcast rights of the BDO World Darts Championship.[2]

SponsorshipEdit

In 2016 and 2017 the title sponsor of the tournament was bookmaker Unibet, who for the 2016 season were the pre-existing sponsors of the PDC's Masters and European Championship, and the new sponsor of the PDC's World Grand Prix.[7] Since 2018 the tournament has been sponsored by bookmaker Paddy Power.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "News | PDC". www.pdc.tv. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d "BBC Deal For Champions League of Darts". PDC. Archived from the original on 12 February 2016. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  3. ^ "News | PDC". www.pdc.tv. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  4. ^ "Champions League of Darts heads to Leicester with £100,000 up for grabs for fans". Sky Sports. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  5. ^ Allen, Dave. "New BBC Deal For Unibet Champions League". PDC. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  6. ^ "Events Update: May & June 2020". PDC. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  7. ^ "Unibet Throw Support Behind Champions League". PDC. Archived from the original on 27 September 2016. Retrieved 25 September 2016.

External linksEdit