The Champions League. The brightest and best sportsmen coming together and duking it to find out who’s truly the greatest. The football version kicked off earlier this week and now it’s time for the 2017 Champions League of Darts.
The world’s eight best darts players congregate this weekend and throw arrows for two days to determine who’s currently the world’s best. The PDC event is non-ranking, but that doesn’t matter when you’re watching the cream of the top facing off against each other. These boys take it seriously.
Whether you’re going to watch it live, heading into a Rileys to watch the action or just settling in at home for it, it’s guaranteed to be a top couple of days of sporting action. Here’s everything you need to know about The 2017 Champions League of Darts…
The action takes place in Cardiff, at the Motorpoint Arena. Formerly known as The Cardiff International Arena & Convention Centre and The Cardiff International Arena (hence the slightly ominous ‘CIA’ branding they used to have out front). Based right in the heart of the Welsh capital, the Motorpoint Arena seats 7,500 and is a decent scale for hosting a tournament like this. Tickets for the event range from £15 up to £35 for the best seats in the house.
The action is all taking place this weekend, on Saturday 16th of September and wrapping up the next day, on Sunday the 17th. Afternoon sessions kick off around lunchtime and the evening darts are thrown from not long after 6pm.
The TV Coverage
The Champions League of Darts will be covered by BBC Sport. So across BBC One, BBC Two and the BBC Sport website, you never need miss a single dart. Here are the times you need to put in your diary:
Sunday September 16th
Afternoon session, 1.15pm
First group matches
Evening Session, 6.45pm
Second group matches
Saturday September 17th
Afternoon session, 1pm
Third and final group matches
Evening Session, 6.30pm
Matches are played as you’d expect, the only quirk here is that there’s a short group stage and then a knockout to decide a winner. There are eight players across two groups, with – as you might imagine – four players in each one. Each player plays each other once in a round robin style. After those games, the top two in each group proceed to the semi finals.
The winners of the semis face off in the final. There is no silver medal play-off game.
Group Matches – Race to 10 legs/Best of 19.
Semi-Final & Final – Race to 11 legs/Best of 21.
Fighting it out to prove who really is the best darts player in the world this year we have, of course, the legend that is Phil Taylor. As well as last year’s runner-up Michael van Gerwen. Taylor’s fellow Stoke-on-Trent pal Adrian ‘Jackpot Lewis’ is also in attendance, as is ‘Barney’, Raymond van Barneveld. Then there’s the ever flamboyant Peter Wright, Snakebite’s fellow Scotsman and rival Gary Anderson. Plus Dave ‘Chizzy’ Chisnall and the rather frightening-looking Serbian-born Austrian arrow flinger, Mensur Suljovic.
The Reigning Champ
Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor won last year’s inaugural event, beating his close rival Michael van Gerwen in the final to secure the top prize. The six-time PDC Player of the Year ran out a pretty comfortable winner in the end, taking the Dutchman down 11 legs to 5. The Stoke marksman beat James Wade even more comfortably in the semis, so he’ll go into this year’s event brimming with confidence. Which is pretty much Phil Taylor’s default position at all times anyway.
Michael van Gerwen
Raymond van Barneveld
The Prize Fund
The money’s not to be sniffed at. Top darts players can earn a serious wedge in the sport and when the world’s top eight get together to chuck arrows, you’d best believe that some serious figures are being wired into their accounts afterwards…
Winner – £100,000
Runner-Up – £50,000
Losing Semi-Finalists – £25,000
Third In Group – £15,000
Fourth In Group – £10,000
Total Prize Money – £250,000
So there you have it. The 2017 Champions League of Darts. Will you be tuning in? If so, how do you see it going? Another win for The Power? Or does this title have MvG’s name on it? Let us know your thoughts on social media…