STEPHEN BUNTING and Kim Huybrechts will make their debuts in the 2015 Betway Premier League Darts, while James Wade will also return to the tournament this year after the field was confirmed.
The Betway Premier League Darts brings together ten superstars of the sport as they compete over 16 weeks for the prestigious title, which was won in 2014 by Raymond van Barneveld.
The world’s top four players qualify by right alongside six Wildcard selections, who are chosen by the PDC and Sky Sports, the tournament’s host broadcaster.
World number one and 2013 Premier League champion Michael van Gerwen and the six-time Premier League winner Phil Taylor head the world’s top four, alongside 2011 Premier League champion Gary Anderson and two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis.
Dutch star van Barneveld, a five-time World Champion, heads the list of Wildcards as the defending champion as the tournament celebrates its 11th season.
2009 Premier League Darts champion James Wade returns to the fold this year following a superb 2014, which saw him win The Masters and two PDC ranking events and reach the World Grand Prix final.
2014 World Championship finalist Peter Wright and November’s Grand Slam of Darts runner-up Dave Chisnall both retain their places for a second season of Premier League Darts alongside two newcomers, Kim Huybrechts and Stephen Bunting.
Belgian ace Huybrechts, 29, continued his impressive emergence during 2014, with his achievements including a nine-darter during a win over van Gerwen in the Grand Slam of Darts.
2014 Lakeside Champion Stephen Bunting, who is also 29, has enjoyed a brilliant first year on the PDC circuit, winning a UK Open Qualifier on his opening weekend of action before reaching the World Championship quarter-finals and the semi-finals of the World Grand Prix.
“The competition for places in the Betway Premier League Darts has been greater than ever this year, and there was a huge amount of deliberation over a host of players for selection,” said PDC Chairman Barry Hearn.
“We welcome two debutants this season, and Stephen Bunting and Kim Huybrechts will bring an exciting new dimension to the tournament – their games are perfect for the Betway Premier League Darts stage!
“In addition, we welcome James Wade back to the tournament and he has fully deserved his place following an excellent last 12 months. He is another proven performer on the big stage who rise to the challenge of competing for his second Premier League win.
“The announcement of the field kicks off an exciting month as we prepare to kick off the tournament in Leeds on February 5, in a night which is on course to break the record set at the First Direct Arena last March.”
The Betway Premier League Darts begins at the First Direct Arena in Leeds on Thursday February 5, beginning a 16-week tour of the UK & Ireland’s biggest arenas.
Following the opening night, the action moves to Bournemouth, Liverpool, Belfast, Exeter, Nottingham, Glasgow and Dublin before Week Nine in Manchester sees the bottom two players eliminated on “Judgement Night”.
The remaining eight players then do battle across the remaining league nights in Sheffield, Aberdeen, Cardiff, Birmingham, Newcastle and Brighton as they bid to win places in the Play-Offs at The O2 in London on May 21.
Over 80,000 tickets have already been sold for the Betway Premier League Darts season, with full ticket information available at www.pdc.tv/tickets.
Betway Premier League Darts Field
PDC Order of Merit Top Four:
Michael van Gerwen (1)
Phil Taylor (2)
Gary Anderson (3)
Adrian Lewis (4)
Wildcard Selections (in ranking order):
Peter Wright (5), James Wade (6)
Dave Chisnall (9)
Raymond van Barneveld (10)
Kim Huybrechts (17)
Stephen Bunting (24)