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Lakeside owner reveals intention to ‘replace’ BDO World Championship

Jamie Shaw in BDO Darts News 05 Oct 2019
Lakeside hosted the BDO World Championship from 1986 to 2019 (credit:PA Images)
Lakeside Country Club owner Bob Potter OBE has announced his intention to stage a rival tournament to the BDO World Championship following the BDO’s relocation to London’s O2 Indigo.
The BDO announced in August that the World Championship is to leave Lakeside after 33 years, confirming the Indigo at The O2 Arena in London as the new home of its flagship event.
The Lakeside Country Club has widely been regarded as ‘the home of world darts’ since the World Championship was first staged there in 1986, but the BDO’s decision to leave the venue marked the end of an era.
The BDO World Championship is covered by Eurosport’s three-year broadcast deal, but the departure from Frimley Green means the tournament is now without a title sponsor after the Lakeside Complex took over in 2004 following the ban on tobacco sponsorship.
Two months on from the BDO’s announcement, Lakeside owner Bob Potter has released a bullish statement in which he claims his venue will host a new darts tournament during the same week as the 2020 BDO World Championship is due to take place.
The press release, which was emailed to regular Lakeside ticket buyers, read: 
‘Following recent reports that the British Darts Organisation have decided to move the 2020 World Darts Championships away from its traditional home – Lakeside Country Club in Frimley Green, Surrey – after some four decades to a venue in London, Lakeside’s owner and MD Bob Potter OBE has today announced that he is endeavoring to replace the annual Lakeside competition with a new event run in a similar manner during the same period (4th to 12th January, 2020).
‘This is to placate and satisfy the numerous regular Lakeside darts fans from all over the world who have expressed their disappointment that their favourite event is to move to an unfamiliar venue which could prove to be an expensive trip in comparison.
‘More details will be released shortly.’
The Lakeside complex continues to host high-profile darts exhibitions, with the likes of Michael van Gerwen, James Wade and Simon Whitlock appearing in Modus’ ‘Lakeside Lives On’ event on November 30.
Potter’s apparent plans for a rival tournament remain under wraps, with a ‘legends’ style event seemingly the only viable option given the contractual ties of current BDO and PDC players.
The Indigo at The O2 is a 2,350 capacity venue designed in a theatre-style configuration, featuring seating on the balcony and the floor. Tickets for the 2020 BDO World Championship are yet to go on sale.