London's biggest party starts on December 15 and runs through to January 3, 2024. The PDC World Darts Champions will feature ninety-six top professional darts players at London's Alexandra Palace, affectionately known as the 'Ally Pally'. With £2.5M in prize money, with £500,000 going to the winner, you can expect the players to bring their A-Game to the oche.
This year is expected to see further massive growth in viewing figures for the sport, and although darts aren't a mainstream sport, the PDC World Championships and Premier League are becoming fans' favourite TV sports. With Germany becoming a new hotbed for darts, the 2023 World Championships semi-final between Gabriel Clemens and Micahel Smith attacked 3.78 million viewers on Sport1 free-to-air Geman Channel alone. The 2024 event will see the live tournament broadcast via Fox Sports, Sport1, DAZN SPTV, Nova Sport 2, Viaplay, SpotTV, Sky Sport NZL, Setanta Sports, TVP Sports, SuperSport and Sky Sports Darts in the United Kingdom and Ireland, with Sky nearly doubling its viewing figures in the last few years. The 2024 World Championships event is likely to attract 13-14 to the viewing screens.
Darts don't have the same viewing impact as English, European football, or the NFL Super Bowl, which broadcasts in over 130 countries and 30 languages. This single event has topped 115 million worldwide viewers and this year's super bowl odds show the San Franciso 49ers as the favourites to take the sporting crown. The Super Bowl attracts casual fans from around the world in February, in a similar way the darts World Championship does in the UK.
An estimated 90,000 Dart Fans from across the globe will descend on the Ally Pally to be part of the World Darts bonanza. Fancy dress is the must-have wearable, and it is the only place you are likely to see Batman, Scooby Doo, the Honey Monster, Zippy, Space Men, American Footballers, Father Christmas, the Mario Brothers and more iconic characters in one place. Fans who have attended before will tell you the World Darts Championships is like no other sporting venue as many return to this famous sporting arena. Even the players will say the fans are 50% of the tournament, and if you have never been, book now to avoid disappointment.
The darting action begins on Friday, December 15 at 7 pm with an opening first-round match between Kevin Doets and Stowe Buntz, with the current PDC World Champion and PDC No. 1, Michael Smith, taking to the stage in a second-round match to play the winner of the Doets and Buntz.
This year's Championships has been described as vastly open with no clear favourite. Luke Humphries is the on-form player after winning three of the last four PDC dart events, The World Grand Prix, the Grand Slam, and recently the Players Championships, beating the tournament favourite, Michael van Gerwen, 11-9 which propelled the new star to No.3 in the PDC Order of merit.
Michael has recently shown some of his brilliance on the oche, quickly followed by a slump in performance. The Players Championships is a prime example. After hitting a nine-dart leg, a holy grail in the sport of darts, Michael took a narrow lead over his opponent, Luke Humphries and at one stage led by 9-7 in a race to 11. Then, with a minor slump in performance from Michael, Luke took advantage to reeled off four straight legs to take the title. Michael, however, is his own hardest critic and will be gunning to make it his fourth World title in 20204.
The current PDC World Champions and PDC No. 1 have much to defend in this year's tournament.
The PDC order of merits is based on two years of prize funds received in PDC ranking events. Michael won the World Championship in 2023 and was runner-up in 2022. Failing to reach the final in 2024 may also mean losing his No.1 spot.
Michael has also changed dart supplier this year, and although he says his new darts are working well for him, it hasn't translated into more titles. He may be No.1 in merit but unlikely to be the No.1 tournament favourite this year.
A rejuvenated Gary Anderson looks like he is getting back to his best. The 180-power scorer fell in the ranking over the past couple of years, but his recent performances suggest he will be back in the top twenty or even the top sixteen in the world before too long.
Gary is a former two-time back-to-back PDC World Champion. He certainly has the pedigree to add to his two titles, but will 2024 be his year? I'm not sure, but I expect him to be in the mix towards the end.
Like a few others, Stephen may go under the radar of some punters, but since he has changed his darts and added 6 grams to the weight, he seems to have much more to give this sport. The Form BDO World Champion hasn't made the inroads he would have liked since moving to the PDC, but he is a dark horse. Undoubtedly yes!
For the more experienced dart fan, Stephen has always been a strong player capable of beating anyone on his day. The 2024 World Championships is the time for Stephen to step up and prove he is part of the cream of the PDC darts performers.
Many in the PDC are more than capable of lifting the Sid Wadell World Darts Trophy in 2024. First off, two Youth Champions, Josh Rock and the current PDC Youth Champion, Luke Littler, these young guys have no fear, only expectation. If you have never heard of them, you will soon be as these guys are indeed the new breed of player the PDC has nurtured.
Add to the new Youth, Gain van Veen (GVV), the new young Dutch star, will also be in this year's World Finals. Gain is also one of the new players that could do well in this year's tournament.
Many fans will say a glut of others could be the next World Champion. Nathan Aspinall is the 2023 World Matchplay Champion. Andrew Gilding, the 2023 UK Open Champion, Gerwen Price, and Peter Wright are former World Dart Champions. Plus, Rob Cross, who famously beat Phil Taylor in Phil's last appearance on the World Stage in 2018, is very much in the mix.