The Stars of Darts gets the interview they all wanted, Barry Hearn answers our member’s questions
Mod500: Dear Uncle Bazza. Are there any plans to have the Pro Tour events streamed online. The recent success of the EDO doing this is leaving the PDC behind for once
We have done this in the past for the final stages of UK Open Qualifiers and hopefully one day we will once more, but there are no immediate plans.
Nikkiboy: Dear Barry,
Could you see yourself working with the progressive EDO & WDO organisations in the near future, effectively cutting the BDO out
No – we at the PDC have enough on our plate as it is, with our aim to increase prize money to £6 million, rather than worry about other people.
robot: Barry, Do you see the popularity of darts peaking anytime soon and how do you intend to keep the product ‘fresh’. Any more innovations coming in terms of tournament formats, as you have done with snooker – maybe a short format one? Also, do you realistically see PDC darts on the BBC anytime soon?
I’m very positive about the future of the PDC. We have many new ideas and opportunities coming up shortly, which I’m sure will be announced in due course.
Ross: Barry, You have done amazing things for the PDC and other sports. My Question is, What excites you – Taylor hitting a 9 darter, Or Leyton Orient actually winning ?
At my age everything excites me – waking up, going to bed, a cup of hot chocolate etc!
Dannyboy: Hello Barry, thanks for your time. What are your long term plans for the sport? Do you think that we’ll see a unified sport any time soon?
Our plans include increasing prize money to £6 million annually and spreading the professional game worldwide. I don’t care about unification – it’s all about the PDC as far as I am concerned.
Hang The DJ: Will there be another attempt to buy the BDO now or in the future, maybe when Olly Croft is no longer in charge?
Definitely not. They had their chance and blew it, and that money is being invested elsewhere now, such as in the PDC Unicorn Youth Tour.
thegabbycabby: Uncle Barry, are there any plans to introduce a challenger tour as they have in golf with lesser prize money and samller entry
ozzieb: What’s more exciting, you waiting for the Worlds final or you waiting for a Boxing match you have promoted/involve one of your boxers?
Ditto to the answer above for Ross!
Xtreme Rebel: Barry, is it an aim for the PDC to make it onto BBC TV. Whilst Sky & ITV4 are great, here in Ireland Sky Sports is pay-per-view and I can’t receive ITV4. Whilst the BDO “world championships” is rubbish, the viewing figures are massive and would be very appealing to sponsors. World Snooker, which you are heavily involved in, have a great relationship (it would seem) with the BBC.
The BDO events don’t seem to have a long future with the BBC. If they want top quality darts, the PDC is their only chance.
Also, what do you make of ESPN taking on the World Masters. Do you see PDC darts on ESPN in the future?
I don’t see the PDC on ESPN. Let them have the amateur game if they want it.
How optimistic are you of getting TV coverage for the Players Championship Finals in December or do you see it as live internet only event now?
I’m very optimistic – we hope to make an announcement on this soon.
Finally, Premier League wildcards is always a hot topic for discussion between darts fans. Who picks the wildcards (is it Sky x 2 and PDC x 2) and what is it that you’re looking at when deciding on who to put into the Premier League.
You are right that it’s 2 +2 as above, and technical ability as well as personality and charisma are major factors.
slymaster: What about the projected/announced tournaments in Dubai (Showtime Arabia), China(?), Australia (Fox)…? Is the US dead and buried?
We’re always looking at opportunities but the money has to be right or we don’t go.
The Cat: Hi Uncle Barry. Any truth in the rumor of there being a Prizefighter darts special ? If so – who would you back to win it ?
No truth in that.
Hang The DJ: What was your honest opinion of the PDC Women’s World Championship & do you see any future for the women’s game in the PDC?
My opinion is that we tried the event last year and it didn’t work, partly because it was not supported as well as we hoped.
Adie: do you think a fans vote for the last place in the premier league would be a good idea ? is it something that has been considered similar to that used in american baseball.
This isn’t something we’d consider.
Stubby: 1. When Phil retires, do you want another dominant player to take over or are you looking forward to time where one from 16 could win a major.
It will be a long time until Phil retires – ask me then.
2. In your view how many more years will Darts grow before it hits it’s peak?
We should hit new peak every year for at least the next six years.
3. Do you think anything can be done to stop the abuse some players get, especially on the premiere league nights?
No, but don’t exaggerate the problem. It goes with massive crowds who pay massive money.
4. Do you agree with some remarks that the PDC is heading down the WWE road especially with the video promos and certain comments made by players in post match interviews.
Yes, isn’t it great to be compared with one of the world’s biggest sporting brands.
Slugger: What is your thought on banning players from drinking on the tour? Do you think this will bring down the standard of darts or improve?? If drinking is banned will darts then become an Olympic sport??
I don’t think there will be an alcohol ban. With regards to the Olympics, this isn’t an aim of ours.
fandarts: barry you are a good looking man for your age-what are your beauty secrets or is it jusy a god given blessing?
Mainly plastic surgery but probably some part God-given as well!
murphio: Barry, surely it’s time for the Premier League to be extended to 10 players? As a regular viewer – and attendee when it comes to Belfast – I think the tournament could not only absorb an extra match but probably needs one. Most weeks Sky are left showing repeats of the nights earlier matches when it would make more sense to slot in another match, giving two extra players the chance to compete. Thoughts?
Thanks for your support. We don’t see any need to change at present from eight players – it’s not broken so there’s no need to fix it.
CFuller: Hello, Barry. Will 2012 be another year of consolidation, or will the professional tour be expanded next year?
We expect to expand further next year – watch out for the Calendar being announced in the near future, but the expansion doesn’t stop there.
If I can ask another question… The Asian darts scene is growing all the time, and players like Lourence Ilagan and Morihiro Hashimoto have played very well in TV majors. Do you intend to take advantage of the Asian market, and if so, how?
We’re trying hard at the moment to do that.
TimmyB: Uncle Barry, Do you have any plans to allow a SKY wildcard, or wildcards, in the GSOD? For example, Ted Hankey hasn’t qualified this year but in many ways has been an extremely entertaining addition to the tournament over previous years. If SKY requested for him to included, would you extend him an invitation?
The invitations were recently announced and Ted, along with some other players, have since been invited.
Dicie: The DRA, and consistency. Adrain lewis was seen mouthing some swear word on tv and thus recieved a fine, phil done likewise at the UK open and no action was taken. Phil was also involved in a confrontation with another PDPA member at the PDC awards dinner and no action again was taken, do you feel Phil gets special handling by the DRA.
No, I don’t. The DRA are in charge of discipline, not me.
Dalek6388: Hi Barry, Whilst the PDC has revitalised darts and is the obvious natural choice for the pro darter – do you feel the PDC connects with the aspiring amateur and those players, young an old, who aren’t the Elite but would like to try to go further in the game?
Yes, if they have the ability and want to live the dream there are huge opportunities with the PDC.
NareysToePoke: Hi Barry, Are there any plans to have televised ranking tournament in Scotland? Has the crowd’s behaviour at the Glasgow leg of the Premier League affected the chance of this happening? Also, is the Glasgow leg likely to return or may it be moved to another place in Scotland or indeed removed altogether due to the fans’ behaviour?
There are no plans at the moment for a ranking event in Scotland, but look out soon for the announcement of the 2012 Calendar and Premier League Darts dates.
Rudy: Hello Mr. Hearn, Thanks for answering my following question: Have the PDC more or less given up on Holland as a target area or are there still plans (again) to help resuscitate Dutch darts and if so what plans?
We met with RTL7 in Holland last week and we’re looking forward to working alongside them to continue the growth in Holland next year – it’s a case of ‘watch this space’!
Spud180: 1. In terms of your little babys, put in order the ones you most love.
Snooker, darts, fishing, boxing, leyton orient, matchroom sport (if that is still yours), Kevin Painter, Steve Davis.
All my best ideas come when I’m fishing so probably that at the moment!
bovvered: mines an easy question- please can we have the dark haired walk on girl from the euros at more events
I agree entirely!
Dave Ahmet: Barry, after the news from the BDO AGM does this change your outlook on the future between the BDO and PDC?
There is no future there.