PETER WRIGHT and Dave Chisnall will make their debuts in Premier League Darts in 2014 after being confirmed amongst the ten-player field alongside Phil Taylor, Michael van Gerwen, Adrian Lewis, Simon Whitlock, Raymond van Barneveld, Robert Thornton, Wes Newton and Gary Anderson.
Scottish-born Wright has been rewarded for his success in reaching the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship final with his first appearance in darts’ roadshow tournament.
Chisnall is rewarded for his rise into the world’s top five, which has included a run to the World Grand Prix final, a European Tour win and two Players Championship victories, with his debut in Premier League Darts.
Michael van Gerwen, who won the Premier League Darts title in his debut season in 2013, will defend his title this season alongside six-time champion Phil Taylor and 2011 winner Gary Anderson, who is one of the Sky Sports Wildcards in the event.
Former Premier League Darts finalists Adrian Lewis and Simon Whitlock are joined by Raymond van Barneveld, a six-time semi-finalist in the tournament, while Robert Thornton and Wes Newton retain their places after making their Premier League Darts debuts in 2013.
“This is a fantastic line-up for the 2014 Premier League Darts and I congratulate Peter Wright and Dave Chisnall on their selection, which is fully deserved after their brilliant years,” said PDC Chairman Barry Hearn.
“The Premier League Darts has always guaranteed excitement, shocks and world-class darts, and this line-up of ten players is sure to provide that by the bucket-load!
“We’ll be welcoming record crowds for the Premier League Darts and also visiting the SSE Hydro in Glasgow and Leeds’ First Direct Arena for the first time in what promises to be a memorable four months.”
Hearn added: “There is always going to be debate and discussion over which players are included but the Wildcards chosen both by ourselves and Sky Sports provide a great mix of quality, experience and personalities.
“Many more players came into consideration due to the incredibly high standard now on the PDC circuit, particularly Andy Hamilton and Kim Huybrechts, as well as James Wade.
“James has enjoyed six great years in Premier League Darts and was a worthy champion in 2009, however this year we believe that he would benefit from a break from the pressures and travel of competing in the tournament to continue his treatment for his well-documented health issues.”
The 16-week Premier League Darts campaign initially sees the ten players play each other once over the opening night weeks, before the bottom two players are relegated after Judgement Night on week nine.
The remaining eight players will then meet once more over the next six weeks before the top four players progress to the Play-Offs at The O2 in London on Thursday May 22.
The Premier League Darts season will begin on Thursday February 6 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, before travelling to the BIC in Bournemouth, Odyssey Arena in Belfast and the new SSE Hydro in Glasgow during February.
March sees the event visit the Westpoint Arena in Exeter, Capital FM Arena in Nottingham, make its debut at the First Direct Arena in Leeds and return to Dublin at The O2.
April opens with Judgement Night at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff before also visiting the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, the GE Gas & Oil Arena in Aberdeen and Manchester’s Phones 4u Arena.
The final three league nights in May will be held at the NIA in Birmingham, Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena and The Brighton Centre, before the Play-Offs see the Premier League Darts champion crowned at The O2 in London.
Tickets are available now, with full details available at www.pdc.tv/tickets.
2014 Premier League Darts Competitors
Phil Taylor – 16-time World Champion
Michael van – Gerwen Reigning Premier League Darts Champion
Simon Whitlock – 2012 European Champion
Adrian Lewis – 2011 & 2012 World Champion
Dave Chisnall – 2013 World Grand Prix Runner-Up
Peter Wright – 2014 World Championship Finalist
Wes Newton – Two-time Major Finalist
Robert Thornton – 2012 UK Open Champion
Raymond van Barneveld – Five-Time World Champion
Gary Anderson – 2011 Premier League Darts Champion
2014 Premier League Darts – Dates & Venues
Night One – February 6 Echo Arena, Liverpool
Night Two – February 13 BIC, Bournemouth
Night Three – February 20 Odyssey Arena, Belfast
Night Four – February 27 SSE Hydro, Glasgow
Night Five – March 6 Westpoint Arena, Exeter
Night Six – March 13 Capital FM Arena, Nottingham
Night Seven – March 20 First Direct Arena, Leeds
Night Eight – March 27 The O2, Dublin
Night Nine – April 3 Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
Night Ten – April 10 Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield
Night 11 – April 17 GE Oil & Gas Arena, Aberdeen
Night 12 – April 24 Phones 4u Arena, Manchester
Night 13 – May 1 NIA, Birmingham
Night 14 – May 8 Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle
Night 15 – May 15 The Brighton Centre
Play-Offs – May 22 The O2, London
Premier League Darts was first staged in 2005, beginning at the Kings Hall in Stoke and visiting Reading, Taunton, Norwich, Carlisle, Plymouth, Kidderminster, Widnes, Doncaster, Colchester and Manchester.
The tournament was first held in arenas in 2007, and is now the biggest indoor sporting event in the UK, with almost 100,000 fans attending the 2013 Premier League Darts, a figure which is set to be surpassed in 2014. Television coverage is live on Sky Sports HD.
The previous Premier League Darts champions are
Phil Taylor 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012 (6 times)
James Wade 2009
Gary Anderson 2011
Michael van Gerwen 2013
Prize Money of £520,000 was paid in the 2013 Premier League Darts, with £150,000 to the winner.