PDC chairman Barry Hearn has sensationally revealed that the Betway Premier League will be heading to Germany in 2018. Speaking at the O2 Arena on Thursday, as Michael van Gerwen defended his crown with a thrilling deciding-leg win over Peter Wright, Hearn confirmed that Berlin would play host to one of the league nights next season.
The visits to the Netherlands over the last two years have been particularly memorable, with Dutch fans flooding to see their heroes Raymond van Barneveld and Michael van Gerwen in action. In this year’s visit to Rotterdam, the 10,000 tickets were astonishingly sold within just eight minutes, and Hearn is looking to replicate that success in Germany.
He said: “Last year for the first time we took the Premier League to mainland Europe. Rotterdam was a huge success. Germany is exploding with darts interest so we would be crazy not to have a leg out there. We have confirmed Berlin for 2018 as it spreads across Europe. This is the fastest growing sport in Europe and the crowds speak for themselves.”
The soaring popularity of darts within Germany has been evidenced through the growth of the European Tour. Germany currently hosts nine of the twelve European Tour events on the PDC calendar and incredibly, almost 12% of the crowds at the 2017 World Championship were comprised of German fans.
Hearn made reference to this German takeover at Ally Pally, stating: “We will have another 10,000 in Berlin sold out in a day, and the fun moves on. About 8,000 of the 68,000 tickets for the worlds were bought by German fans. A huge number of people were flying in, booking hotels and staying there, compared with 3,500 Dutch.
“The Dutch market has been established over the past few years with big-time players like Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld. It’s incredible that Germany has exploded so much without yet a major German star to cheer on, which I am sure will come,” Hearn added.
Former World-Youth champion Max Hopp is the current poster boy of German darts and has recorded victories over the likes of Mervyn King and Vincent van der Voort on the World Championship stage. The 20-year-old will make his World Series debut in Las Vegas next month, but could he be gracing the Premier League stage in Berlin in 2018?
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC