I have often wondered and speculated on what it would take to turn the game of darts in America to the sport of darts that England knows today. The debate has rolled on and on with a plethora of ideas on what can be done, yet I wonder, how can we really do it? Some say, that a professional tour needs to be developed, yet, what will we develop and who will devote the time and effort to do so? Some say that tournament formats need to switch to less events and higher payouts for the singles. Yet, who is going to make those changes, or try to ensure that this happens? Should we just, as a nation, throw everything as we know it out the door, forget all that has happened, and start with a fresh clean slate?
We often find that we are very much a “stereotypical” type of nation. Once we get it in our heads that this is the way things are perceived, it is a rough road to travel to change those opinions. Could our stereotypical opinion of dart players in the US be changed? It seems to be an unknown answer to a very tough question. In the UK, darts is part of their culture and what they grow up with, whereas in the US, it is not. However, there are many other games/sports that started in other cultures that we seem to have no problem embracing in the US. Why does it seem that darts cannot? Is this why we are failing as a nation to compete?
So you say that you are a player that supports darts. Does that also make you a “fan”? In a much older article from years ago, I discussed this topic. With the PDC coming to America in July and seeing so many people “complain” about having to stay at the venue for a minimum of two nights if they are competing in the event, I thought it would be some interesting questions to throw out there again. What would the top players do, and what would we do as a nation and a culture of darters to grow the game in America? Now all of this is supposition. We start with an idea and expand on it. Yes, it is purely fantasy. But without dreams, where would this nation be?
So, suppose we start with the (large governing body of professional darts) has announced a North American Players Championships Tour. Open to all North American residents only and seeding is based on an already pre-set adequate seeding system already developed. Ten events total, with one in each major city in North America.
Now enter…..The (large governing body of professional darts) North American Player’s Championship Tour brought to you by a major corporate sponsor. The major corporate sponsor has decided to front $50 grand for each event to be the exclusive sponsor and only allow their products sold at the event. Also incorporated into the venue will be a large merchandising area for the major corporate sponsor to sell its merchandise.
Room rates at each venue have negotiated to a decent level by the major corporate sponsor. Discounted airfare rates have been negotiated with a major airline by the major corporate sponsor. Entry fee for each player is a set amount….say $100 each.
Secondary space has also been allocated for a darts vendor area and the folks at Target, Monster, Unicorn, Bottelsen, Puma, Laserdarts, and any other dart manufacturer or sales company, all have a place to set-up shop, introduce us all to their latest products and technology, and allow us the opportunity to meet their sponsored players.
So, with all that being done and laid at your feet as a dart player in America……what are you going to do for them in return? Will you fly the airline? Will you stay at the hotel? Will you buy the major corporate sponsor’s products? Will you visit the vendors, sample their merchandise and maybe buy some of it?
We think nothing of going to the store and purchasing a (major name race car) driver’s hat because we are a fan. We attend (major league/pro team) sporting events because we are fans. We purchase (major title) fights on pay-per-view because we are fans.
You play the game. And we talk so much about it. We want it to grow. We want to see it at a professional level in America. We want to be able to view it on television. We all want it to happen.
With the old adage in mind…”you have to give some to get some”….what will you do as a dart player to grow the game and support an event, so that it becomes a reality in North America? Will you be willing to give it all you can to support it? Or will you shy away for one reason or another? Or will you just sit in a Facebook group and complain about everything that is wrong?
Anne Sleepy Kramer www.sleepykramer.com
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