DARTS NEWS, and hence our own reports, had, for more than a year been centered around a new event. The World Masters had started life backed by audio giants Phonogram, but, after the inaugural holding, the famed music company decided to end its support. IN 1975 the next sponsor was to strike a partnership that is unique in darts and possibly across all sports.
Darts World cannot think of a comparable arrangement between a major sporting event and its sponsor. Winmau’s association with Olly Croft and the BDO, who staged the Masters, began in 1973 when the company was still known as Kicks Bros.
In that year Kicks’ became the first dartboard company to introduce silk-screen printing on the face of their dartboards but, more importantly, 1973 was to prove a major breakthrough for the company when Harry Kicks (senior) forged a vital deal with Olly to supply top quality dartboards to all of the major BDO events.
From then on, the Kicks dartboards would be the official dartboards of the BDO and be allowed to carry that organisation’s logo on its advertising as it was ‘Officially recognised and supplied’ to the BDO for nation-wide tournaments and, shortly afterward through the World Darts Federation (WDF) numerous international contests. The strength of the Winmau/BDO relationship was reinforced when in 1976 the company’s advertising included alongside the Winmau logo, that of the BDO.
In 1975 when the recording company Phonogram ended their two-year sponsorship of the World Masters darts tournament, Olly spoke to Harry snr suggesting that perhaps he might consider putting his company name to and money into the Masters. It was during these discussions that Olly suggested changing the actual company name to Winmau (rather than just the name of its best dartboard). Harry took Olly’s suggestion on board and in early 1976 the name of the company was changed permanently. Although the partnership ended in 2018 the brand and the event had become synonymous.
Thus the Winmau World Masters was born as a decades-long partnership and two names that are inextricably linked. Appropriately enough the first edition, of the newly badged event, was claimed by legendary Welsman Alan Evans.
So linked did the two become that players and fans often referred to the event as simply “The Winmau“. They may soon do so again now that the resurgent brand have been announced as the Title sponsor for the 2022 hosting of the all-new Winmau World Masters!
Evans In Trouble Once More:
Legendary Welshman Alan Evans had a remarkable year in 1975. In January he was busy cleaning up the British Open and he would end the year with another major title at the World Masters.
Yet, somehow Darts World’s major coverage of him, in that year, seemed to always be about something else. The Arrow, as Evans was known, was always on the wrong side of officials and organisations.
However, it should never be forgotten that he was one of the games’ major stars. During its first steps toward TV recognition and greater professionalisation at the highest level, Evans turned professional and blazed a trail for modern players. (Read our ‘Unsung Heroes’ profile on Evans)
Evans won the British Open, then a highly valued prize, by defeating Alan Glazier in the final.His Master triumph at the end of ’75 was perhaps the highlight of his career. But, judging by the article above, it’s nothing short of miraculous that he ever got to the board.
The Darts World 50
Very few publications can lay claim to being “The Official Voice” of their sport. But then not many are almost 50 years old and have coexisted side by side with the object of their affection throughout the swings and roundabouts of two golden eras and at least one near collapse.
In the early 1970s, a handful of ingredients were coming together to form the recipe for the massive success of the hitherto lesser-known pub game. Darts World Magazine was one of those ingredients.
Editor, proprietor, and instigator, Tony Wood, welcomed readers to the new Darts World magazine for our November/December 1972 debut (Issue 1). The ingredients mentioned above could all be seen within those first 36 pages and then in every issue that followed.
DW has chronicled the ups and downs, the major events, and the minutiae while championing the game at every opportunity.
The Darts World 50 offers 50 highlights selected direct from our pages during what must now be thought of as the ‘Golden Age/s of Darts’.
Images: Darts World
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