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We take a look at the BBC and it

The PDC Champions League Preview

Posted: 23.09.16 in Tournament Analysis Blog category

We take a look at the BBC and it's new PDC tournament in place of Lakeside - The Champions League.

We have been a bit slack recently with our tournament blogs. There weren’t too many darts blogs available when we first started off 5 years ago or so. It is great to see so many more bloggers coming through and picking darts as their sport of choice. The DPC has developed immensely since we started as well. Our online shop, physical shop, the coaching taking off, our coaching and Darts World articles, Performance darts, practice plans and all the other things have all taken time away from our blogging.

But, we are back and taking a look at the BBC/PDC inspired event starting this weekend!

So the Champions League of darts! It does match its football equivalent by letting non-champions into the event so that part is right. The PDC are rightly excited about the screening of the tournament on the Beeb, and why shouldn’t they be? It must hurt when they see The Lakeside trounce their viewing figures each year for the finals day at Frimley Green.

Due to budget cuts (apparently) the BBC have given up their longstanding relationship with the BDO and Bob Potter and chosen to swap it with a weekend extravaganza in Cardiff, jumping into bed with the PDC to boot.

 I have been lucky enough to be at The Lakeside, working behind the scenes for the past three tournaments which the BBC have covered along with BT Sport. The BBC outsource the actual filming of the event to an independent company, and a great job they did too.

Working hard behind the scenes at Lakeside!

The BBC didn’t seem to value Lakeside as maybe they should have done. They made bizarre decisions like never showing the first game of the tournament (although they did in 2016) due to ensuring that all the cameras and lights were working. Games got shifted around and schedules altered but that was nothing to do with the production company.

It was a sad day when the BBC, using budget cuts as the excuse, cut their ties with the grand old tournament that is the BDO World Championship, held at The Home Of World Darts, The Lakeside! The great news is that Channel 4 have taken over the BBC role and trying not to sound ungrateful for what the BBC have done for all of us BDO fans over the years, they will bring some fresh impetus to the event.

Anyway, this is supposed to be about the “new” PDC event in Cardiff. It is in fact a reincarnation of the Premier League. It has been shoe horned into the calendar with the top 8 players taking part. The same 8 players who were at the MotorPoint arena on 31 March for judgement night of the Premier League. The same 8 we had by then seen since the 4 Feb when the Premier League began. We then had the majority of them for another 6 weeks after that!

I am sure you get my point. Yes these guys (Adrian Lewis, James Wade, Gary Anderson, Michael Smith, Phil Taylor, Peter Wright, Michael van Gerwen and Robert Thornton) are fantastic players but do we need to see them every week? No we don’t, this is the one area the PDC is severely lacking, variety.

The format looks good though, a bit different, a Round Robin to start things off and then semis and a final. The groups have been drawn like this:

Group A

Rank

Group B

Rank

Michael van Gerwen (Netherlands)

1

Gary Anderson (Scotland)

2

Phil Taylor (England)

4

Adrian Lewis (England)

3

Peter Wright (Scotland)

5

James Wade (England)

6

Robert Thornton (Scotland)

8

Michael Smith (England)

7

 The Games

Saturday afternoon group matches

Adrian Lewis (4/5) v James Wade (5/4)

Gary Anderson (11/17) v Michael Smith (3/1)

Phil Taylor (7/10) v Peter Wright (21/10)

Michael van Gerwen (7/15) v Robert Thornton (9/1)

Saturday evening's group matches

Afternoon session's winners play each other, and losers play each other.

Sunday afternoon's group matches

Final round of group matches

The Odds

Outright Winner

MVG 9/10

Taylor 5/1

Anderson 11/2

Lewis 14/1

Wright 18/1

Wade 22/1

Smith 33/1

Thornton 100/1

What Else

In true Lakeside tradition there is a commentator employed to take the fury and wrath of the tweeting and facebooking darts fans-instead of Tony Green, who we must note will in all likelihood has covered his last Lakeside now the BBC have split from Frimley Green. Green is a Lakeside legend although it is fair to say his ability to convey appropriate comments about a darts match over the air in a satisfactory manner retired years before he did! Vasos Alexander is in the box. I have met Vasos at Lakeside a few times in the press room and he is a very nice man. But, for whatever reason he does seem to annoy some fans, hey ho!

Mark Webster as a pundit is a great choice too. He is also another nice man and I am sure will do a great job!

It’s great to be back blogging on tournaments again and hopefully despite the ongoing success of the Darts Performance Centre we can keep going during the next mad few months of darts coverage.

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The Darts Performance Centre is a resource to assist dart players of all standards play better darts. The site is arranged as an online coaching manual. There is advice on technique, nerves, psychology, goal setting, practice games, an area to log your statistics and an interactive area where your darting questions are answered by two sports scientists, one with 30 years dart playing experience. You also get an invite to our free but exclusive members only events and acess to our members only darts coaching app! Membership is £25 per year!

Author: Paul Gillings ( paul@dartsperformancecentre.com )