Premier League Darts 2022: Why new format has already proven a huge hit
The new look competition is only two weeks in but it has already revitalised a product that was in danger of going stale.
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Traditionally, the competing players are confirmed following the crowning of a world champion and an inevitable social media reaction ensues.
Prior to that competition there was conformation that the organisers were going to shake things up and take the Premier League in a new direction with a brand new format.
We are now two weeks into that new format and it has already been hailed as a resounding success by fans and pundits alike.
What has changed?
The Premier League has always been one of the highlights of the PDC calendar, second only to the World Championships in the eyes of many fans.
However, the competition was in serious danger of growing stale and major flaws were beginning to be exposed.
2021 was the final nail in the coffin for the standard league format when reigning champion Glen Durrant went on a nine match losing streak with it being obvious long before his inevitable exit that there was nothing left to play for.
It meant that at least one match each night on the tour was going to be seen as little more than the opportunity to make a trip to the bar or the facilities.
Finals night in Milton Keynes was as thrilling as ever and there was no need to fix something that was not broken from that perspective but the PDC did need to address the build up to it.
They deserve all the credit for doing that in the new format of nightly knock out tournaments, each with a £10,000 winners purse to compete for, ensure that no match counts for nothing.
The system of dividing up points for the overall league table based on how far each player progresses in each weekly mini-tournament also allows for the overarching competition to be maintained as the eight competitors race towards finals night.
The number of competitors is also an improvement (reduced from ten to eight), although it does mean that even more deserving players than was already the case miss out on a chance to take part it does ensure a much tighter league table in the long run.
The past two weeks of the competition have breathed new life into the Premier League product.
What are people saying?
Pundits and fans alike have been largely positive about the new format.
Sky Sports commentator and former Premier League star Wayne Mardle is one who has made clear his feeling towards the mini-tournament style after having initial reservations.
Speaking on night one of this year’s tour, and quoted by website Darts News, Mardle said: “Coming into the Premier League with the change of format, you kind of think I hope it works, for the viewers, the players and I think it does.
“Like I said the unpredictability due to the short format, I think we saw it there as well because at 4-4, Jonny (Clayton) was averaging 88 and Joe (Cullen) was averaging 97 but the level is still too close to call.
"He did it both ways did Jonny, he did it against someone playing unbelievably well like Van Gerwen and he kind of matched him dart for dart and had to grind it out as well.
“Testament to Jonny and his belief and where he is with his darts right now. I think this format is going to work and hopefully it's got legs."
It’s not just the experts who are loving the format though, take a look at some of the fan reaction from these tweets:
@ChrisMurphy180:“My first chance to check out the new Premier League Darts format last night, and I love it! Fast-paced, action-packed, dramatic, meaningful and exciting. I'm hooked!”
@GrantDoyle77: “New premier league darts format is brilliant. Go Johnny Go Go”
@ksc4273:“Big fan of the new Premier League of Darts set up. Far better than the previous format”
That’s just a taste of the online reaction to the new format and lets hope it remains as enthralling in the weeks to come.
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