The world’s best darts players are competing from their own homes in the PDC Home Tour, a tournament that will take more than a month to complete.
The Professional Darts Corporation event begins with a 32-night group stage, with the winners advancing to knockout rounds.
World Champion Competing in First Group
The first group of four players will compete on Friday, April 17. World Champion Peter Wright headlines the group, with Peter Jacques, Jamie Lewis, and Niels Zonneveld also in action.
Players will compete in best-of-nine leg matches, with each group playing a full round-robin. At the end of each night, the winner of the most matches will advance, with a series of tiebreakers in place to ensure a winner can be determined.
“This will provide a regular supply of live sport to fans,” PDC chairman Barry Hearn said, via the BBC. “The event will also give players a chance to play competitive darts in this down period in preparation for the return to normal action, whenever that may be.”
Some bookmakers are also offering odds on the PDC Home Tour. William Hill had Wright as a -800 favorite over Jacques (+450) in the first of Friday’s matches, with odds listed for all of the announced upcoming matches.
PDC Home Tour Betting Odds (Group 1)
- Wright (-800) vs. Jacques (+450)
- Lewis (-138) vs. Zonneveld (+100)
- Jacques (+100) vs. Zonneveld (-138)
- Wright (-600) vs. Lewis (+350)
- Lewis (-138) vs. Jacques (+100)
- Zonneveld (+350) vs. Wright (-600)
Odds via William Hill
Broadcasters are just as desperate as sportsbooks for new content, and the PDC Home Tour promises plenty of ongoing action over the next month or so. The PDCTV network will broadcast all matches live, as will some online bookmakers.
DAZN has also gotten in on the darts action. The streaming service has acquired the rights to broadcast the PDC Home Tour in each of its nine markets, including the United States. That arrangement was aided by the fact that PDC chairman Barry Hearn also chairs Matchroom Sport, which has an eight-year deal in place with DAZN for boxing events.
Each night’s matches will begin at 2:30 pm EDT, or 7:30 pm BST. Darts commentator Dan Dawson will provide analysis as part of a broadcast package that will also include scoreboard graphics. There’s no word on whether the DAZN broadcast will vary in any way from the PDC’s own coverage.
Professional Darts Tour Not Immune to COVID-19
Like most sports, professional darts has taken a hiatus over the past month due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The PDC has yet to announce a planned restart date for in-person events.
The world of professional darts is known for raucous events with rowdy crowds. Players don’t expect to see those sorts of scenes again anytime soon, but remain hopeful that the tour will come back in some form once the pandemic ebbs.
“Maybe prize money might have to drop, we don’t know, we’ll wait and see how we come out of this,” professional darts player John Henderson told The Press and Journal. “Every sport will be hurt by this virus, there’s no question. PDC darts has been in a good place for a number of years so, hopefully, we can pick up where we left off.”