|Location Frimley Green, Surrey|
Established 1978 (40th edition)
|Venue Lakeside (1986–)
Heart of the Midlands (1978)|
Organisation(s) BDO category Major / WDF category Major
The BDO World Darts Championship is a world championship competition in darts, organised by the British Darts Organisation (BDO). It began in 1978, and was, alongside the World Darts Federation's World Cup of Darts, one of two world championship tournaments until 1993. Since 1994, following a dispute with the BDO and the subsequent fallout, a breakaway group (originally known as the World Darts Council, and now known as the Professional Darts Corporation) stages its own annual PDC World Championship, generally before the BDO version in late December and early January of each year.
- Womens Championship
- BBC Sport
- Channel 4
- BT Sport
- International coverage
- Viewing figures
The BDO version was first held at the Heart of the Midlands Nightclub in the English city of Nottingham. The following year it moved to the Jollees Cabaret Club, Stoke, where it stayed until 1985. From 1986, it has been held at the Lakeside Country Club in Frimley Green, Surrey.
In 1983, a 23-year-old qualifier from Ipswich, Keith Deller, beat the world's top 3 players including Eric Bristow in a memorable final to produce one of the greatest upsets in the sport's history.
In 1990 American player Paul Lim hit the tournament's only ever perfect 9-dart finish in the second round against Irishman Jack McKenna to win a bonus of £52,000 which was more than the eventual champion Phil Taylor received.
The finals of 1992, 1998 and 1999 all went into a deciding set play off, having reached 5 sets all and 2 legs all. In 1992, Phil Taylor defeated Mike Gregory in a sudden death leg, having reached 5 legs apiece. In 1998 Raymond van Barneveld beat Richie Burnett 4–2 in legs in the deciding set. Van Barneveld then repeated the same final set scoreline the following year against Ronnie Baxter.
Similarly, the final of 2007 was nailbiting. Martin Adams was 6 sets up, and after the comfort break, Phill Nixon responded by winning the next 6 consecutive sets. Adams held on to take victory in the 13th and deciding set, to win the title that had eluded him for 14 years.
The women's World Championship started at Lakeside in 2001 and Trina Gulliver has won ten championships. Her seventh title in 2007 took her overall record at the Lakeside to 20 match wins and having only dropped four sets in the history of the championship – one each in the finals of 2001, 2002 and 2007 and one in the quarter final of 2003. She managed a long run of 13 consecutive matches without dropping a single set, which started the semi-final of 2003 and ended in the final of 2007.
In 2008, Anastasia Dobromyslova won the World Championship, becoming the first player other than Trina Gulliver to take the title. Following her appearance at the Grand Slam of Darts in November 2008, Anastasia Dobromyslova joined the Professional Darts Corporation, hence leaving the BDO and did not defend her title. 2009 saw five-time runner-up Francis Hoenselaar complete the Masters/World Championship double by beating Gulliver 2–1 in the final. 2012 was the first final without Gulliver, who lost in the semi-final to the eventual champion Dobromyslova.
Since the split in darts two versions of the world championship have existed since 1994, this record section relates specifically to achievements in the BDO version.Most titles: Eric Bristow 5. Raymond van Barneveld has won four titles Most finals: Eric Bristow 10. John Lowe appeared in eight finals and Raymond van Barneveld reached the final six times Most appearances: Martin Adams 24. John Lowe and Eric Bristow appeared in the first 16 tournaments, but the split in darts prevented them from increasing that total. Adams' appearance at the 2010 tournament surpassed their record. Youngest champion: Jelle Klaasen 21 years 90 days (2006) Youngest competitor: Michael van Gerwen 17 years 257 days (2007) Oldest champion: Martin Adams 54 years 224 days (2011)
Since the breakaway of the PDC players, there has been much debate about the relative merits of the players within each organisation. The debate often focuses on the three-dart averages of players in matches.
Since the BDO Championship started in 1978, there have been 20 occasions where a player has achieved a three-dart average in excess of 100 during a match. Keith Deller was the first player to achieve an average of 100, in the quarter-final of 1985 against John Lowe, although he lost the match. It was not until Phil Taylor's semi-final of 1990 that another player managed a 100 average. Raymond van Barneveld has achieved the feat six times.
Highest one-match averages:
- 103.83 Raymond van Barneveld (2004, Quarter-Final) v John Walton
- 102.63 Dennis Priestley (1993, 1st Round) v Jocky Wilson
- 101.67 Mervyn King (2002, Quarter-Final) v Raymond van Barneveld
- 101.55 Ted Hankey (1998, 1st Round) v Wayne Weening
- 101.40 Marko Pusa (2001, 2nd Round) v Jez Porter
- 101.28 Martin Adams (2002, Quarter-Final) v Wayne Jones
The tournament was broadcast in the UK by BBC Sport on television for nearly 40 years, from its inception in 1978 until the decision was made to drop the coverage after the 2016 tournament. The BBC's coverage has been fronted by David Vine (1978), Peter Purves (1979–1983), Tony Gubba (1984–1990), Eamonn Holmes (1991–1992), Dougie Donnelly (1993–1998), John Inverdale (1999–2000) and Ray Stubbs (1999 and 2001–2009). Twice world finalist Bobby George has been a pundit on the BBC's coverage since 1998. Colin Murray succeeded Stubbs as presenter from 2010-2016, as Stubbs had left the BBC at that time. Murray has been assisted by Rob Walker since the 2009 World Masters. Walker is more well known as the MC for the BBC's snooker coverage.
The commentary team has changed over the years with David Vine (1978), Sid Waddell (1978–1994), 1994 BDO world champion John Part (1995–2007) and David Croft who covered the tournament for 10 years on BBC TV and Radio as previous broadcasters until 2012 when he moved to Sky to cover F1. Tony Green is the longest-serving member of the BBC commentary team covering every event from the first championship in 1978, but missed the event for the first time due to illness in 2011. The replacement for Green in 2011 was BBC Radio 5 Live and Chris Evans Sports Newsreader Vassos Alexander who stayed in the commentary box in every year since and Jim Proudfoot of talksport replaced Croft in 2013. Other commentators in 2014 was John Rawling who commentated on darts for ITV and BBC Radio 5 Live and Scott Mitchell who played in the tournament and commentated on the later stages. Bobby George, Martin Adams, Trina Gulliver, Tony O'Shea and other BDO players also handle commentary duties.
Between 1989 and 2001, the Championship was the only tournament shown on terrestrial television in the UK in some years. The BBC covered the Unipart European Masters in 1995, while ITV covered four WDC UK Matchplay tournaments from 1993–1996 on quadro dart boards, as well as the 'Clash of the Titans' one-off encounter between the two world champions, Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld, in 1999. However it was not until 2005 that viewers were able to see every dart live at the World Championship, when the BBC introduced interactive coverage on its BBC Red Button service. The BBC's contract to cover the tournament ran until 2013, however they have reduced their coverage from the 2012 event and no longer have exclusive coverage in the UK. ESPN now broadcast the evening sessions live, with the BBC still showing the final exclusively live.
On 6 January 2013, it was announced the BBC had signed a 3-year deal to show the Lakeside World Championships from 2014-2016, on 4 December 2013 it was announced the BBC would show the tournament exclusively. This means every dart was shown live on BBC. It was also announced the coverage would still be presented by Colin Murray and Bobby George, which it has been since 2010 despite Colin Murray leaving Match of the Day 2 and BBC Radio 5 Live to move to Talksport. However, in late 2014 it was announced that BT would cover every evening session in the tournament. For 2015 the commentators were John Rawling, Jim Proudfoot, Vassos Alexander, Tony Green and George Riley and for 2016 the commentators were John Rawling, Vassos Alexander, Tony Green and George Riley.
The BBC contract expired after the 2016 final and the BBC opted to drop the tournament, instead covering a new PDC tournament the Champions League of Darts in September 2016. The rights from 2017 were taken up by Channel 4.
The BBC contract expired after the 2016 final and the BBC opted to drop the tournament, instead covering a new PDC tournament the Champions League of Darts in September 2016. The rights from 2017 were snapped up by Channel 4. The Channel 4 coverage is presented by Rob Walker who worked for the BBC as a presenter and reporter on Lakeside from 2010-2016 alongside PDC professional Paul Nicholson and BDO Ladies Player Deta Hedman, Bobby George will present features therefore is still involved in the coverage which he has fronted on the BBC since 2000. Commentary is provided again from Jim Proudfoot, John Rawling & Vassos Alexander. Proudfoot is returning after missing 2016 because of other commitments while Tony Green has retired after commentating for the BBC for the BDO Tournament from 1978-2016 only missing 2011 because of illness.
After being broadcast exclusively on the BBC in the UK for 34 years, ESPN began sharing coverage of the tournament in 2012. Ray Stubbs was confirmed as their host, returning to the Lakeside as a broadcaster, over two years after leaving the BBC. ESPN host Nat Coombs was also part of the presentation team. Both broadcasters used the same commentary team – Tony Green, David Croft and Vassos Alexander for 2012 and Jim Proudfoot replacing Croft for 2013. ESPN broadcast the evening sessions from the opening day until the quarter finals, as well as the second semi-final live. ESPN showed recorded highlights of the final. Following the launch of BT Sport, which acquired all of ESPN's sporting rights, coverage was dropped from ESPN and the entire 2014 Championships was shown exclusively live by the BBC.
In 2014 it was announced that the coverage would be shared between the BBC and BT Sport for the 2015 tournament. BBC will have live coverage of the afternoon sessions, live coverage of the 1st men's semi final and the women's final. While BT Sport will have coverage of every evening session and live coverage of the 2nd men's semi final. Both broadcasters will share coverage of the final. Ray Stubbs will again host the tournament after hosting for the BBC from 2001-2009 and ESPN between 2012-2013, he hosted alongside 2 times champion Ted Hankey who returned to the BDO in 2014 but just missed out on a qualifying spot for Lakeside 2015 while Helen Skelton was roving reporter and both broadcasters shared commentary which was provided by John Rawling, Jim Proudfoot, Vassos Alexander, Tony Green and George Riley. For 2016 Ray Stubbs presented alongside Ted Hankey, Tony O'Shea or Scott Mitchell with commentary by John Rawling, Vassos Alexander, Tony Green and George Riley and roving reporter was Reshmin Chowdhury. After the 2016 the joint BBC / BT Sport deal expired and BBC Sport dropped their coverage instead deciding to cover the PDC Champions League of Darts in September 2016 . BT Sport subsequently decided to continue coverage of the tournament, this time in conjunction with Channel 4. They announced in December 2016 that regular presenter for darts on BT Sport, Ray Stubbs, now at Talksport 2, would be replaced by Matt Smith as presenter with 2 time semi finalist Chris Mason acting as their analyst. Similar to the agreement with BBC Sport, they will share commentators. This will be led by John Rawling with Vassos Alexander and Jim Proudfoot also commentating.
International coverage of the event has increased through the years. Dutch television station SBS6 broadcast the event since 1998, as Dutch players have become more prominent in the world game. SBS6's contract to cover the event ran until 2008.
UK viewing figures for World Championship final data provided by the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board UK.2016 2015 2,000,000 2014 3,500,000 2013 2,100,000 2012 2,370,000 2011 2,330,000 2010 3,100,000 2009 1,830,000 2008 3,010,000 2007 3,300,000 2006 3,620,000 2005 2,550,000 2004 3,410,000 2003 2,810,000 2002 2,460,000 2001 3,680,000 2000 3,700,000 1999 4,060,000