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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.

Premier League
Premier league darts logo.jpg
Tournament information
VenueVarious
LocationVarious
CountryUnited Kingdom, Ireland, Netherlands, Germany
Established2005
Organisation(s)PDC
FormatLegs
Prize fund£855,000 (2019)
Month(s) PlayedFebruary – May
Current champion(s)
Netherlands Michael van Gerwen

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 £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.

Television coverageEdit

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]

SponsorshipEdit

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.

FinalsEdit

Year Final Tournament
Champion Score Runner-up Best of Venue Prize-pool Players Venues
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]
2019   Michael van Gerwen (103.36) 11–5   Rob Cross (100.98) £851,500 9[b] 16
  1. ^ A scheduled night at Westpoint Arena was cancelled due to Storm Emma. An extra round was held at Rotterdam Ahoy to compensate.
  2. ^ 9 players played regularly, with 9 others serving as 'contenders' for each of the first 9 nights.

Records and statisticsEdit

As of 23 May 2019.

Total finalist appearancesEdit

Player Won Runner-up Finals Appearances
  Phil Taylor 6 2 8 13
  Michael van Gerwen 5 2 7 7
  Gary Anderson 2 0 2 8
  James Wade 1 2 3 9
  Raymond van Barneveld 1 0 1 15
  Terry Jenkins 0 1 1 5
  Mervyn King 0 1 1 2
  Adrian Lewis 0 1 1 10
  Colin Lloyd 0 1 1 3
  Roland Scholten 0 1 1 3
  Simon Whitlock 0 1 1 6
  Peter Wright 0 1 1 6
  Michael Smith 0 1 1 3
  Rob Cross 0 1 1 2

Tournament recordsEdit

  • Most titles: 6 – Phil Taylor
  • Most tournament appearances: 14 – Raymond van Barneveld
  • Most matches played: 211 – Raymond van Barneveld
  • 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).[3][4]
  • 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)

WhitewashesEdit

Year Player Legs Player
2007 Terry Jenkins  
87.32
0–8   Colin Lloyd
96.97
2008 Phil Taylor  
96.97
8–0   Wayne Mardle
88.43
2012 James Wade  
96.97
8–0   Simon Whitlock
80.79
2014 Phil Taylor  
99.45
0–7   Michael van Gerwen
109.59
2015 James Wade  
93.93
0–7   Michael van Gerwen
116.90
2016 Robert Thornton  
75.68
0–7   Dave Chisnall
101.16
2016 Robert Thornton  
88.38
0–7   Phil Taylor
102.15
2017 Adrian Lewis  
94.53
0–7   Michael van Gerwen
110.75
2018 Raymond van Barneveld  
96.58
0–7   Michael Smith
103.15
2019 Daryl Gurney  
94.45
0–7   James Wade
109.59

High averagesEdit

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
Average Player Year
107.48   Michael van Gerwen 2016
106.73   Phil Taylor 2012
105.26   Michael van Gerwen 2015
104.68   Michael van Gerwen 2017
104.11   Michael van Gerwen 2018

AppearancesEdit

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 were the latest players to make their Premier League debuts.

Premier League players and performanceEdit

Player # 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
  Phil Taylor 13 W W W W SF W SF W RU SF 5 RU SF DNP
  Colin Lloyd 3 RU SF 5 Did not play
  Peter Manley 4 SF 6 6 6 Did not play
  Roland Scholten 3 SF RU 8 Did not play
  Mark Dudbridge 1 5 Did not play
  John Part 3 6 DNP 8 6 Did not play
  Wayne Mardle 4 7 7 DNP 5 WD Did not play
  Raymond van Barneveld 14 DNP SF SF SF SF 6 SF 5 SF W SF 7 6 6 9
  Ronnie Baxter 2 DNP 5 Did not play 5 Did not play
  Terry Jenkins 5 DNP RU 7 5 8 7 Did not play
  Dennis Priestley 1 DNP SF DNP C Did not play
  Adrian Lewis 10 DNP 7 SF C 7 RU 6 8 6 6 SF 8 DNP
  James Wade 10 Did not play RU W RU 5 SF SF DNP 7 6 7 DNP SF
  Mervyn King 2 Did not play RU SF Did not play
  Jelle Klaasen 2 Did not play 7 Did not play 9 DNP
  Simon Whitlock 6 Did not play SF 6 RU 6 10 Did not play 8 DNP
  Gary Anderson 8 Did not play C DNP W 8 10 SF W SF SF SF DNP
  Mark Webster 1 Did not play C DNP 8 Did not play
  Andy Hamilton 2 Did not play SF 7 Did not play
  Kevin Painter 1 Did not play 7 Did not play
  Michael van Gerwen 7 Did not play W RU RU W W W W
  Robert Thornton 3 Did not play C Did not play 5 8 DNP 8 Did not play
  Wes Newton 2 Did not play 9 9 Did not play
  Peter Wright 6 DNP 5 9 5 RU 7 8
  Dave Chisnall 4 Did not play 7 SF 9 5 DNP
  Stephen Bunting 1 Did not play 8 Did not play
  Kim Huybrechts 2 Did not play 10 DNP 10 DNP
  Michael Smith 3 Did not play 10 DNP RU 7
  Rob Cross 2 Did not play SF RU
  Daryl Gurney 2 Did not play 5 SF
  Mensur Suljović 2 Did not play 9 6
  Gerwyn Price 2 Did not play 10 5
Table Legend
W Won in playoffs RU Runner-up SF Lost in the semi-finals # Place in table, not qualified for playoffs
# Place in table, relegated WD Withdrew during tournament C Challenge player DNP Did not play at that year

When Gary Anderson withdrew from the 2019 season just before it began, Chris Dobey, Glen Durrant, Steve Lennon, Luke Humphries, John Henderson, Nathan Aspinall, Max Hopp, Dimitri Van den Bergh and Jeffrey de Zwaan were named as "contenders" to play in Anderson's place each of the first eight weeks.[5][6]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Whyte & Mackay to sponsor Premier League planetdarts.tv
  2. ^ http://www.planetdarts.tv/page/PremierLeagueDetail/0,,10180~962208,00.html
  3. ^ "888.com Premier League Darts – Night 11". PDC. 22 April 2011. Archived from the original on 23 December 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^ http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/sports-latest/2011/04/22/premier-league-super-scot-gary-anderson-breaks-180-record-during-demolition-of-simon-whitlock-86908-23078799/
  5. ^ "2019 Unibet Premier League Field Announced". Sky Sports. B Sky B. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  6. ^ Phillips, Josh. "Premier League 'Contenders' To Replace Injured Anderson". PDC. Retrieved 4 February 2019.

External linksEdit