Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

BDO darts past its best

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

Phil 'The Power' Taylor remains darts' most recognisable face
Phil 'The Power' Taylor remains darts' most recognisable face

On New Year's Day BBC Radio 5 Live took the unprecedented step of broadcasting a live darts match.

What made the broadcast even more notable was that it did not feature action from the BDO World Darts Championship, which BBC TV has supported for more than 30 years.

Instead BBC network radio featured a match from the rival PDC World Championship, which until then had been aired exclusively on Sky TV.

So what are we to make of this anomaly? Perhaps the most obvious conclusion is that someone high up in the Beeb has finally realised what the rest of us have known for years – the BDO tournament, currently being played at Frimley Green, is awful. Really, really awful.

This pains me to write because I have watched BDO darts all my life. But the truth is almost all of the games this week have been of pub standard. Bad pub standard. Throwing after 10 pints pub standard.

Most of the players have struggled with mid-70s averages. To put it in context, most of the averages in the rival PDC tournament are in the 90s and often soar above 100. It's night and day.

But BBC TV continue to pretend that theirs is the 'real' world championship. A fair comparison would be if the Beeb was to lose rights to show highlights of Premier League football, so decided to show Conference soccer instead, but kept on insisting that it was the best league in the world.

The BDO tournament is long past its sell by date. The kindest thing for all would be to kill it off and to leave us with one proper unified world champion.

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