JOE's History of Darts: The 2000s 8 years ago

JOE's History of Darts: The 2000s

Slick, exciting and hugely popular; the 2000s was when darts returned to sports’ top table.

By the turn of the new century, darts had shaken off its difficult time after the split between the old organisation, the BDO, and the new and much more glamourous PDC. The BDO continued to host its World Championships but almost every top player, sooner or later, headed to the bright lights, and bigger bucks, of the PDC.

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At the very top, Phil The Power Taylor continued to rule the roost, winning seven world Championship between 2000 and 2009. But the standard in the sport was getting higher and higher. In 2006, four time BDO champion Raymond van Barneveld moved to the PDC and promptly won their world title in 2007.

Jelle Klaasen and Mervyn King also trod the same path and combined with the emergence of top PDC players like James Wade, John Part and Adrian Lewis the standard in the sport had never been higher.

The demand to watch the sport was increasing too. New tournaments sprung up in the 2000s, and not just in the UK. The German Darts Championship was added to the tour in 2007, the European Championship followed the next year and in 2001 the Grand Prix moved to its permanent home in CityWest in Dublin.

But the biggest new tournament to hit the circuit, and one that is now beloved by fans and players alike, was the Premier League.

Started in 2005, the format has been tweaked and twisted over the years but it has become a monster television event and produces tremendous drama every year. Broadcast live on Sky since its inception, the event has become a regular feature on the Thursday night schedules.

Only Taylor has played in every year of the event, with Barney next in the list with eight. Taylor has won all but two of the League titles but its impact on the sport, in terms of growing a fanbase, player recognition and quality can’t be understated.

The 2000s also brought us what is now universally known as ‘The Darts Song’. Released in 2000,  Chase The Sun by Planet Funk, or at least one snippet of it, has become synonymous with the sport and it is hard to imagine it not being played these days.

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Here’s the crowd singing it...

And here’s the full original, if you ever wondered what all the song sounded like.

Darts has never been bigger business. Tonight almost 10,000 people will be in the O2 in Dublin for the Premier League while the crowds, in arenas and on TV, have never been bigger.

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From the hazy smoke-filled rooms of the 1970s to the HD spectacle we see today, darts has come an awful long way in the last four decades. As it continues to grow and expand to new countries, the level of talent continues to rise and while we don’t know where it will go next, we do know what song will be playing as it goes.