Recently, in collaboration with the Darts Nutz Forum, I spoke to Matthew Porter, the PDC’s Chief Executive, with forum members sending in their questions for Matt. Here are his answers!
What’s the PDC’s position on the match board quality controversy? Anything under consideration to investigate player claims of poor quality?
We have been working with Unicorn and the PDPA to analyse the boards and match data in respect of ‘bounce outs’ and will be shortly releasing the outcome.
Why is there still a World Series event held in Germany each year?
If my maths is correct Germany currently has the following main PDC events:
1 x World Series
World Cup of Darts
7 x Euro Tour events
1 x Premier League night
European Championship finals
1 x Pro Tour weekend
1 x Development Tour weekend
Given all of the above events, it seems overkill including the World Series event in Germany when there are quite a few other territories that could be visited in order to promote darts and the PDC brand that currently hold no main PDC events – e.g. one or more of the Asian countries could be added back on the calendar or one of the Nordic and Baltic countries (both of these allied to the local Pro Tours), or maybe even eastern USA, Canada, South Africa or South America to name a few more.
Germany is a strong and successful market for the PDC and there is strong demand for our events. World Series events are hugely expensive to stage and it is not just a case of taking them to any new market where we don’t currently have events. We need appetite from local fans, broadcasters and sponsors to help make these events successful so whilst we will always look to visit new territories where it makes sense, these are important decisions and it has to be the right place at the right time.
Couple of questions on the Development Tour and its allied World Youth Championship which are for players who are over 16 and are 23 on the day following the World Championship final.
Are there plans to reduce the upper age range to 21 or 22 given that the current “Youth” champion was 24 when he won it?
No, this is not currently under consideration. Darts is not like many sports where you are finished at 35, you can have a long career and there are plenty of examples of players not emerging fully until their mid-20s so to keep the upper youth age limit at 23 is something we believe is appropriate.
Similarly, are there plans to reduce the lower age range to allow talents like Leighton Bennett to take part given that Barry Hearn recently said that he should be given a Grand Slam spot as the BDO World Youth Champion?
16 is a lower age limit that we have carefully decided on for a number of reasons, one of the most important ones being child safeguarding. This is not something we are looking to change currently.
Given that 6 of the current top 10 players in the Development Tour Order of Merit hold full tour cards, are there any plans to change it so that card holders are ineligible, or at least change it so that players have to be outside the top 64 or top 96 in the main OoM?
No, this is not currently under consideration but we do review all these things annually in conjunction with the PDPA.
Now that you use DartConnect to record every dart thrown at Q School as well as on the various tours, will you analyse that data and weed out the consistent under-performers from attending QSchool in the future, even if only for one year, in order to improve the overall standard?
No, we would not do that – how would it incentivise anyone to improve if they were ruled out for the following year after a poor performance?
Not specifically about the PDC, but the players are bound by DRA rules and can be fined accordingly for any infractions – no bad thing if it keeps the players on the straight and narrow – but what actually happens with the fines once the money is paid over?
The fine revenue is used for DRA running costs and to fund their extensive drug-testing and anti-corruption programmes.
Will we see a European Tour event or a darts masters event somewhere close to Greece like let’s say a Balkan masters?
Never say never, but it isn’t something we see happening in the next year or two.
Matt, is the PDC satisfied with the current Grand Slam qualifying criteria? I’m asking in particular about the 8 tour card qualifiers. In my view, there are so many Pro Tour and Euro Tour events nowadays to reward all 128 card holders. Isn’t it too harsh to have players, who won tour events, missing out on the Grand Slam while 8 players just get in through a one-off qualifier?
In order to have the event as a ranking event, it’s important for us to have it open to the whole field of tour card holders so having qualifying places for eight players satisfies this criteria. Otherwise it becomes a bit too much of a closed shop for the top echelons.
Have you spoken to Olly Croft since he & Lorna rejected your plans to help the BDO, and what’s your opinion of how the BDO is being run at the moment?
I have never spoken to Olly Croft. I wouldn’t pass an opinion on the BDO or its events, but I have an open dialogue with Des Jacklin and I wish him every success.
Will we see a return of the pairs tournament in the future?
We don’t have any plans to introduce a pairs events.
Looking at the UK Open and the opportunities it presents to amateurs of the sport, is there a consideration for opening up qualifying to other nations or venues outside the UK?
There’s nothing to stop non-UK players entering the Riley’s qualifiers but by definition of the name of the event it is ‘UK’ focused. I wouldn’t rule out non-UK-equivalents in the future, but our calendar is pretty full at the moment!
When will there be an event in Canada? I think we deserve one. Even if it’s in Niagara Falls or something, but I think it should be on the east coast (biased).
Canada is high on our list of target territories but as I mention above, everything has to be right and currently we are not commercially ready to enter the market. Hopefully that will change soon!
Any plans for a speed 1001 tournament…….along the lines of the snooker shoutout competition!!!…..
Short answer – no!
Barry Hearn hinted at “big news” for America. Any insight? When will we find out?
We will shortly be announcing ‘big news’ for next year’s World Series event in America, but you’ll need to be patient I’m afraid!
Any plans to return the ranking system to a points-based system as was in place previously? Seems to be a lot of top players who skip Pro Tours now when the sums they win even for going far into the day could be earned on a night’s exhibition.
No, we are happy with the Order of Merit system compared to points.
Are there any plans, too, to further narrow the gap between some of the less prestigious TV events and the World Championship to make them even more worthwhile when it comes to rankings (or even perhaps tier the current PDC TV events and do so i.e. with the winner of the World Matchplay, World Grand Prix etc. winning substantially more than the winner of the UK Open, PCF?)
Yes, we would very much like to raise the prize funds of our other Premier events but everything has to be judged on its own merits and the World Championship is by far and away our most high-profile and highest-grossing event.
Any plans to offer more female-exclusive spots for any of the majors after the success of last year’s PDC World Championship women’s qualifiers (on top of those 2 already in place)?
Currently no as places for most other events come from within our system which women are eligible to compete in.
Thanks to Matthew Porter and the Darts Nutz Forum