20 January 2005, the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) launched the first season of Premier League Darts at King’s Hall in Stoke-on-Trent, England.
Fifteen seasons later, Thursday 7 February 2019 plays host to the season-opening 2019 Premier League Darts at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The invitational tournament has made and broken darts players who have qualified and been invited as wildcards over the years.
As Premier League Darts turns 15-years-old, the numbers have been crunched together into 10 key facts in the tournament’s history.
Michael van Gerwen’s record-breaking 123 average – 2016
The current three-time PDC World Darts Champion, Michael van Gerwen holds the highest-average ever recorded in televised darts history against Michael Smith on Week 10 of the 2016 season.
It was darts from another stratosphere from the Dutchman as he looked ominous for a whitewash against “Bully Boy”, but ended up winning comfortably by 7 legs to 1 with a 123.40 average as he won his second Premier League title in 2016.
Taylor’s Two Nine-dart legs against Wade – 2010
Phil “The Power” Taylor, the most successful player in Premier League Darts history, still to this day is the only darts player to have hit two nine-dart finishes on TV in one match against James Wade in the 2010 final.
Taylor hit the first nine-darter in the second leg as he started with a 174, before hitting a 180 to leave 147, he checked out 147 with T20, T17, and D18. Thirteen legs later, “The Power” hit two 180s before checking out 141 with T20, T19, D12 to claim his second nine-dart finish of the match before winning his fifth Premier League title by 10 legs to 4.
Barney and Taylor top most Premier League Darts appearances
Five-time World Darts Champion Raymond van Barneveld and 16-time World Darts Champion Phil Taylor have made the most appearances in the tournament’s history with 13 appearances each since 2005.
Taylor has been a regular of Premier League Darts since the tournament started in 2005, before retiring after the 2018 World Darts Championship final where the 2017 season was his last Premier League appearance.
With van Barneveld, the Dutchman has qualified in the Premier League both in the Order of Merit and as a wildcard since he defected to the PDC from the BDO in 2006.
Anderson flies high with the most number of 180s in Premier League season
Gary Anderson is known for his incredible ton-180 scoring power, so it is no surprise that “The Flying Scotsman” holds the record for the most number of 180s hit in an entire Premier League Darts season with 79 in 2011.
Not only did he hit the most number of 180s in the 2011 season, but Anderson also went on to win the first of his two Premier League Darts titles, defeating fellow two-time World Darts Champion Adrian Lewis in the final by 10 legs to 8.
The O2 Arena has held more Premier League Darts finals than any other venue
The 20,000-seater O2 Arena on the Greenwich Peninsula in London has held seven Premier League Darts finals, that’s more than any other venue over the last fifteen seasons of the tournament.
In 2019, it will be the eighth consecutive year that the O2 has held the Premier League final since becoming the finals venue in 2012, bringing 10,000 boisterous darts fans to Greenwich to see who will become the Premier League Champion.
Gary Newbon was the first-ever Premier League Darts presenter for Sky in 2005
The veteran sports television reporter and journalist, Gary Newbon was the first-ever Premier League Darts presenter for Sky Sports when the tournament first started in 2005.
Newbon did not come back for the next 14 Premier League Darts seasons as he was replaced with current Sky Sports darts presenter Dave Clark, who will be anchoring the tournament in his fourteenth season in 2019.
James Wade is the only left-handed player to have won the Premier League
While most winners of Premier League Darts have been right-handed, 2009 Champion James Wade is a rare exception. Wade is the only left-handed winner of Premier League Darts to date.
It was also in that season where Phil Taylor’s four-year reign as Premier League Champion ended to Mervyn King in the semi-finals. King, unfortunately, could not defeat Wade as the Aldershot thrower won by 13 legs to 8.
The Power and The Menace joint-oldest entrants
Dennis Priestley and Phil Taylor are the joint-oldest entrants to have entered Premier League Darts in 2007 and 2017 at 56-years-old.
Priestley had his one and only Premier League appearance in 2007, losing to his former rival Taylor in the semi-finals. 10 years later, Taylor appeared in his final Premier League Darts season in 2017, losing to Peter Wright in exactly the same position as “The Menace”.
Lloyd receives biggest-ever Premier League Darts final defeat in 2005
Colin Lloyd played a major part of the first three seasons of Premier League Darts from 2005 to 2007.
Lloyd still holds the biggest-ever defeat in a Premier League final against Phil Taylor in 2005 as Taylor won by 16 legs to 4 to claim the £50,000 first prize over Jaws in Manchester.
Whitlock is the only overseas player to hit a nine-darter in the Premier League
Australia’s Simon Whitlock is the only overseas player in Premier League history to have hit a nine-darter when he achieved the feat in the 2012 season.
Whitlock achieved a nine-darter against Andy Hamilton in the second leg of the semi-final, hitting two 180s before checking out 141 with T20, T15, D18 to send the O2 Arena ballistic with the perfect game.
Happy 15 seasons of Premier League Darts and let’s hope that the tournament continues to bring more excitement, and memorable moments for the coming seasons.
Data Sourced from Darts Database. Images credited to Sky Sports, Sporting Life, Darts Planet TV, The O2, Birmingham Live, Unicorn Darts, and Live Darts.