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Darts is one of the most popular sports in Europe and it still commands a dedicated fanbase, who regularly enjoy watching all of the drama unfold at the oche. Darts devotees often attend multiple events on the calendar, taking in action on both the Professional Darts Corporation and British Darts Organisation tours. Despite the majority of tournaments now being televised by the likes of Sky Sports and the BBC in the UK, attendance figures remain healthy and cheap flights now enable darts aficionados to visit several different venues across the continent. We have picked out the top four destinations for fan experience and those places that are perfect for enjoying the arrows.
Top Four Places to Watch The Arrows
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This North London setting is arguably the most well-known venue to host events on the PDC Tour and it currently stages the end-of-season World Darts Championships on an annual basis. The iconic venue has a rich and colorful history, hosting numerous sporting events throughout the year including the Red Bull Soap Box Race and the Masters Snooker. Around 85,000 fans will attend this prestigious event, typically held over a three-week period, and the tournament has the propensity to attract a heady mix of darts obsessives and party-going locals.
Although some of the crowd may need to clue up on the rules and scoring before entering the building, they’ll soon get into the swing of things as it’s difficult to take your eyes off the fast-paced action on stage. There is always a terrifically raucous atmosphere inside this sizable venue and many fans opt to attend in a variety of eye-catching fancy dress costumes.
The tournament is the highest profile event on the calendar and all of the biggest names will be in attendance. Phil Taylor was successful here on 14 occasions, although he was defeated by relative newcomer Rob Cross during his final appearance in 2020. The former electrician has quickly become of the most popular players on the tour and at 16/1 is third favourite in the darts betting to secure his second World Darts Championship title at the start of 2020.
— Jamie Spires (@Jamiespires1979) December 29, 2020
Winter Gardens – Blackpool
The Winter Gardens is one of the most historic venues to play host to a major darts event and is located in the seaside town of Blackpool. The World Matchplay has been held at this iconic destination since 1994 and tickets regularly for the summer event tend to be snapped up within moments of going on sale. Although the venue is significantly smaller than Alexandra Palace, there is still plenty of space for attendees to witness supreme action, while sheer atmosphere is almost guaranteed.
The World Matchplay is almost certainly helped by its position in the PDC calendar. Mid-July often coincides with warm weather in the north west of England and it’s a great opportunity for visiting darts fans to sample the delights of the traditional seaside town.
With record prize money announced for 2020, the majority of the top players in the PDC Order of Merit are likely to be in attendance and a typically fascinating finale is likely to ensue.
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN WINS THE 2020 PREMIER LEAGUE ????? pic.twitter.com/lRFUVGZv0q
— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) May 23, 2020
Ahoy – Rotterdam
The Dutch are passionate about their darts and they’ve produced some of the greatest players of all-time. The likes of Michael Van Gerwen and recently-retired Raymond Van Barneveld are routinely roared on by the partisan crowd at this particular venue, helping to guarantee an unbeatable atmosphere.
Van Gerwen picked up consecutive victories in the Premier League of Darts back in March 2020, resulting in a carnival atmosphere in Holland’s second-largest city. His 7-1 thrashing of the out-of-sorts Peter Wright sent the 10,000-strong crowd into raptures and helped pile further misery on the Scot, who has been criticised for using several different sets of darts throughout an underwhelming campaign.
Ahoy was built in 1970 and is a truly multifunctional theater. As well as hosting the Premier League of Darts, it also stages conferences and sporting events. None of these events, however, can replicate the wall of noise that is produced when world number one Michael Van Gerwen steps onto the stage.
Lakeside – Surrey
Despite taking place during the first couple of weeks of January, the much-anticipated BDO World Championships rarely fails to attract a sizeable audience. Fans of the sport flock to Camberley’s Lakeside Country Club on an annual basis.
There is a general consensus amongst darts fans that Lakeside attracts a more reserved and knowledgable audience, yet it still delivers an unbeatable atmosphere, especially in the evening. Teesside’s Glen Durrant has dominated this event in recent years and it is often viewed as the ideal opportunity to witness some potential stars of the future take to the oche.
The tournament is always well-organised and there is ample space for attendees to move around between matches. It is the ideal place to enjoy some post-Christmas darts.
— BBC Surrey Sport (@BBCSurreySport) January 4, 2020
There are numerous venues who deserve honorable mentions with Minehead, Wolverhampton’s Civic Hall and Berlin’s Mercedes-Benz Arena all proving popular with punters and players alike. However, this quartet of settings stands head and shoulders above the rest. If you’re looking for top-class sporting action in lively surroundings, as well as a chance to relax and unwind then Alexandra Palace, the Wintergardens, Ahoy and Lakeside are widely considered to be the perfect settings.