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Barry Hearn ‘Considering’ Moving World Darts Championship to Saudi Arabia

Barry Hearn is not ruling out moving the World Darts Championship away from the ‘Ally Pally’ in light of interest from Saudi Arabia to become hosts. 

The PDC World Darts Championship has been synonymous with Alexandra Palace (Ally Pally) since 2008 and many feel this is the home for professional darts. 

Much like the Lakeside was THE venue of the BDO World Championships, Ally Pally is a yearly pilgrimage for dart enthusiasts and also those looking for a good party 👀

Well, after speaking to The Mirror, news has broke that The PDC president is entertaining the idea of uprooting the venue and even the country it’s hosted in. 

“I have spoken to the Saudis and they were very keen”

This is following the recent blockbuster boxing promotions held in Saudi Arabia and also talk of relocating the World Snooker Championships (also promoted by Hearn) which saw quite a bit of backlash from current players. 

The move to Saudi Arabia for sports has been seen as a bad choice by fans with the country having very different laws when it comes to spectator sports. 

There have already been complaints that there’s a lack of atmosphere at the boxing.

Atmosphere being one of the key drivers of darts growth over the last few decades don’t forget…

It’s also worth noting that there is strictly no alcohol allowed in Saudi so the darting experience for a spectator would be very different indeed. 

For promotions though, money talks and the contract at Alexandra Palace expires next year which is why Hearn is now exploring his options. 

He is realistic in his expectations though stating: 

“It’s a great atmosphere at Ally Pally, but well, we’re looking at it.

“I could sell a quarter of a million seats for the world championship. I sell 90,000. Do I go into the big hall? I think there’s a lot of work, but that would give me 6,000 seats. And I’d still be at Ally Pally. Or do I go somewhere else?

“Everyone will say, ‘are you gonna take it to Saudi?’ Well, no, don’t be silly. They’re not ready yet, But they won’t be far along.”

Gerwyn Price Backing World Darts Championship Move to Saudi Arabia

Gerwyn Price is the first player to speak out (shock) on the World Darts Championship potentially relocating to Saudi Arabia in the future and he is seemingly happy with the decision. 

His headline quote pulled from Instagram reads, 

“Less drunken hooligans that aren’t fans, causing fights.

“If you want that atmosphere there’s four months of it with the Premier League. People can still enjoy themselves without alcohol #PlayersFirst.”

Hearn has said that when alcohol is allowed in Saudi, he wants darts to be one of the first events to take advantage of this, so, it seems like Price wouldn’t get the quiet event that we know he craves following his “ear defender” shenanigans last year. 

Still, it’s hard to see if local residents in Saudi would take to darts and whether traveling fans would warrant the large capacity increase that Hearn really wants. 

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