THE Betway Premier League will break new ground in 2016 with the tournament’s first visit to the Netherlands, with the Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam set to join the UK & Ireland’s biggest venues in hosting the sport’s widest-reaching event.
The £700,000 Betway Premier League, televised live on Sky Sports, sees an initial ten-player field competing across four months at 16 arena venues to contest for the prestigious title, which was won by Gary Anderson in May 2015.
The opening nine Thursday nights see the players face each other once in the league phase, with the bottom two players from the league table following Judgment Night – to be held in Cardiff on Thursday April 31 – being eliminated.
The remaining eight players face each other once more over the remaining six league nights, before the top four then progress to the Play-Offs at The O2 in London on Thursday May 19.
Following the huge success of this year’s opening night at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, the venue will also kick off the 2016 Betway Premier League on Thursday February 4.
Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena, the 3Arena in Dublin and Aberdeen’s GE Oil & Gas Arena will host further league nights during February before the visit to the Westpoint Arena in Exeter on March 3 precedes the UK Open TV Finals that weekend in Minehead.
Nottingham’s Capital FM Arena, The SSE Hydro in Glasgow and Liverpool’s Echo Arena will then stage league nights before Judgement Night on March 31 in Cardiff sees the field reduced to eight players.
April sees league nights at the Sheffield Arena, The SSE Arena in Belfast, the Bournemouth International Centre and at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham before the action heads to the Manchester Arena on May 5.
The final league night will then see the Betway Premier League visit the Netherlands – home to former champions Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld – for the first time on Thursday May 12 at the Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam.
The top four players will then progress to the Play-Offs at The O2 in London on Thursday May 19, where the semi-finals and final will see the tournament’s champion crowned.
“We’re delighted to be able to take the Betway Premier League to the Netherlands for the first time next year and we’re confident that the Ahoy Arena will host a capacity crowd for the visit of darts’ greatest players,” said PDC Chairman Barry Hearn.
“Dutch darts is enjoying a boom at present, led of course by the success of world number one Michael van Gerwen but also seen in the number of young players coming through, the great crowds we receive in our European Tour events in the Netherlands and also through the huge TV ratings received by our broadcast partners, RTL7.
“The Betway Premier League has been a phenomenon in British sport for the past decade in taking the top player across the UK and into Ireland, with over 100,000 fans enjoying this year’s tournament live across 16 great venues.
“With the addition of the Ahoy Arena, we’re now taking the Betway Premier League to fans in continental Europe, and this is a development which we’re sure will add another dimension to an already thrilling tournament.”
Betway’s Alan Alger said: “The Betway Premier League is a hugely successful event that we are proud to be so closely involved with.
“This year’s tournament produced some fantastic stories and the climax at the Play-Offs was a worthy conclusion. The plans for the 2016 Betway Premier League mean that it promises to be the most exciting yet.”
The 2016 Betway Premier League will feature the top four players from the PDC Order of Merit following the completion of the 2015-2016 World Championship, with a further six players being invited to compete in the event.
Tickets for the 2016 Betway Premier League are expected to go on sale in early October, with details to be confirmed at www.pdc.tv/tickets in due course.
2016 Betway Premier League
Night One – Feb 4 – First Direct Arena, Leeds
Night Two – Feb 11 – Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle
Night Three – Feb 18 – 3Arena, Dublin
Night Four – Feb 25 – GE Oil & Gas Arena, Aberdeen
Night Five – Mar 3 – Westpoint Arena, Exeter
Night Six – Mar 10 – Capital FM Arena, Nottingham
Night Seven – Mar 17 The SSE Hydro, Glasgow
Night Eight – Mar 24 – Echo Arena, Liverpool
Judgement Night – Mar 31 – Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
Night Ten – Apr 7 – Sheffield Arena
Night 11 – Apr 14 – The SSE Arena, Belfast
Night 12 – Apr 21 – Bournemouth International Centre
Night 13 – Apr 28 – The Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham
Night 14 – May 5 – Manchester Arena
Night 15 – May 12 – Ahoy Arena, Rotterdam
Play-Offs – May 19 – The O2, London