PDC and Perform launch first internet-only darts tournament

Press Release: Championship of Darts to use the internet as sole broadcast platform

The Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) and Perform, the digital sports specialists, have launched the Championship of Darts - the first ever darts tournament to be solely broadcast on and funded by internet distribution.

In a world first for darts, all aspects of the tournament, which will take place in September and October, will be optimised specifically for an internet and betting audience, with matches scheduled between 11am and 9pm to maximise both workplace and home viewing.

With a guaranteed £200,000 prize fund, the winner of the tournament, which forms part of the roster of PDC events, will receive a place in the Grand Slam of Darts, the ITV-televised event won in November 2007 by Phil 'The Power' Taylor.

The decision to create a bespoke internet-only darts tournament follows the success of Championship League Snooker, a Perform/Matchroom Sports event which is broadcast exclusively on the internet, together with research which shows that betting turnover on events streamed live is up to five times greater than on matches that are not streamed live.

While the PDC streamed select live matches from the Blue Square UK Open Regional Finals in 2007, the Championship of Darts will be the first event where the whole tournament is streamed live on the internet.

"This is an exciting new concept in darts," said PDC Chairman Barry Hearn. "The success of the live internet streaming of Blue Square UK Open Regional Finals this year showed the appetite of darts fans to see the best players in the world in competition.

"The players, venue, staging, cameras and production will all be of the highest quality but the distribution will be a completely new phenomenon for the sport. We are delighted to be partners in such a forward thinking initiative that could help fund all sorts of new sports events around the world."

Simon Denyer, Joint CEO, Perform, said: "The Championship of Darts shows that distribution via the internet is becoming an increasingly attractive model for sports events and sports rights holders.

"We will be distributing the Championship of Darts to a limited number of betting websites, and are in the process of concluding the final licensees to this ground breaking new event for the next three years. We will also be offering the Championship of Darts to global audiences on a pay-per-view basis through a global live sports web-TV site we will launch in the summer. With the growing global penetration of broadband connectivity, pay-per-view is becoming a sizeable market opportunity."