Here we are, back in the board room, where we look at the inside of the business of our game. In more normal times this column looks at the business of darts and the development of our game.
Since the very beginning, and like most popular sports, darts has been a partnership between players, fans, media, and manufacturers. Each plays an important role and if one suffers then the knock-on effects hit the others like dominoes on record breakers.
You may think, then, that Covid -19 would have been a hammer blow to our industry. Amazingly this does seem to have been the case. In fact, darts may be one of the few sports sectors to ‘benefit’ from ‘The Virus’.
Even the BBC have carried reports of darts experiencing Christmas level orders………
One early casualty of the aftermath might, unfortunately, be players. At least one major promoter/manager is set to revamp their company model to accommodate the expected of new remote-style events. Their stable of players may well be dramatically cut, with the younger, unproven players being especially vulnerable.
The Board Room is beginning to hear rumours of a major exodus from one major manufacturer. Some were much slower than others getting ahead of the virus and its related difficulties. In addition, it’s often the biggest names that are slowest to adapt to change.
It would be no surprise if manufacturers also look to reduce the size of their commitments to players in faraway lands or outside the elite echelon.
Fans may be a major beneficiary of the ‘brave new world’ with a plethora of new events that are free to watch, via streaming sites, apps, and other media, along with a rescheduling of many events in the latter part of this year or even early in 2021.
Broadcasters and the wider media, including magazines and websites😉, will be faced with the challenge of covering this huge rush of events and keeping the fans up to date and entertained while not saturating what was already a busy market.
More interesting times will come when renewal time arrives for TV right deals. Will darts value have increased or will the PDCs brand value have been diluted by the various new products available?
A version of this article originally appeared in Darts World Magazine in 2020.
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