After a successful World Cup: the difficult path to becoming a darts professional

Status: 05.01.2023 19:27

Gabriel Clemens’ appearance in the World Cup of Darts semi-finals could spark a boom in Germany. However, the professional organization system is not at all designed for the broad masses to earn their money from the flying arrows.

Anyone who first got into darts due to the success of Gabriel Clemens might have noticed three letters: PDC. This abbreviation means Professional darts company, which is the organizer of all professional tournaments. An organization founded 30 years ago. This should create greater financial opportunities for players.

He also worked with the support of promoter Berry Hearn. Darts are now a global trend sport. But the PDC is not the world association of darts. It is a completely profit-oriented business that does not seek the good of the masses.

Only 128 professionals

There are only 128 places for the professional tour. These players are eligible to participate in all tournaments throughout the year. A well-thought-out system for PDC Chairman Matt Porter: “We know that right now even those 128 people are not making enough money from darts. If we allow more professionals now, we would only increase the number of those who cannot make a living from it. .”

Porter estimates that about half of the 128 players can currently fund their living with the Flying Arrows. However, the prize structure also favors the best players. Last year, around 15 million euros were played. Winners of major tournaments alone received around 15%.

Battle for the Golden Ticket

Once a year, everyone has the opportunity to go on a professional tour. In the qualifying school the places are played over several days, what are called business cards. They are initially valid for two years. As long as there is time to enter the top 64 of the world rankings with this golden ticket. If that doesn’t work, the business card is gone again.

In the coming week, the qualifying school for 2023. The match will be played in England and Germany at the same time. The German site is Kalkar on the Dutch border. A total of 27 tour tickets will be played this year. There should be between 10 and 13 in Germany, depending on the number of participants.

Last year went to German qualifying school Almost 300 players started, with England there were more than 600. Because this time the Corona rules on the spot no longer apply, an increase is again expected. To get there, you need not only playful skills, but also a little luck.

From celebrity to amateur player

The playing strength of the participants ranges from upper class to hobby level. Even the big names in darts have to go to qualifying school line up From a German point of view, Max Hopp is particularly noticeable. The former European Championship semi-finalist dropped out of the top 64 at the end of the season and therefore lost the right to play. England’s Fallon Sherrock, who is the only woman to win World Cup matches against men, has been fighting for a tour ticket for years.

In general, many have gone from ambitious semi-professionals to touring tickets for a long time. From Germany, for example, we must mention Lukas Wenig. He finally wants to realize his dream of turning professional in the coming week.

Last year, little used all the opportunities that remain without professional status. He contested open qualifying and was part of the second-tier Challenge Tour. It takes place mainly in England and the two best of the year also receive a tour ticket. Financially, however, it is rather a negative affair.

Not everyone takes risks

If few succeeded in making the leap to the professional circuit, he would not immediately devote his whole life to darts. “There’s no way I’m going to stop working. I don’t have enough security for that. I don’t think it’s feasible for everyone these days to put everything on one card. “

The statistics prove him right: in the last five years, eight Germans have obtained a tour ticket. They lost four more. They couldn’t play enough tournaments for professional or financial reasons.

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