PDC Director Rod Harrington has outlined his vision for an expansion of the European Tour which he hopes will consist…
Harrington hopes to see major progress with the Euro Tour in the coming years (credit:Sky Sports)
PDC Director Rod Harrington has outlined his vision for an expansion of the European Tour which he hopes will consist of 20 events within the next five years.
Former world number one and two-time World Matchplay champion Harrington is among the PDC’s Board of Directors and was inducted into the PDC Hall of Fame in January, recognising his significant contribution to the sport.
Harrington played an integral role in the formation of the PDC and has since gone on to play a huge part in setting up the European Tour, Challenge Tour and Development Tour systems which have seen a host of players progress through the ranks.
Harrington, 61, intends to retire in five years but remains ambitious about the growth of the sport, particularly in Europe – where he hopes to set the wheels in motion for a major expansion of the European Tour.
The European Tour, which began in 2012, currently consists of 13 live-streamed events per season, each containing a prize fund of £140,000 and held in front of large crowds.
Harrington says he hopes to see at least 20 Euro Tour events per year by 2024 with a significant increase in prize money and new events staged in emerging darting hotbeds.
“We had a two-day meeting two or three weeks ago where all the board members put a presentation together,” Harrington told Live Darts.
“My presentation is always about the future of darts, not the financial side of it.
“I think our next push, in my opinion, is in Europe.
“We need to spread out in Europe, I think we’ve got too many in Germany so we need to go to Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania and go up into Scandinavia – which was a real hotbed of darts when I played – Norway, Finland and Sweden.
“I would like to see a European event in every one of them, in five years’ time, a minimum of 20 of those throughout Europe, all streamed with big prize money.
“We’re talking perhaps six million pounds minimum for those 20 events.
“A lot has got to be put together, but if you don’t put it together now, in five years’ time you go ‘in five years’ time, we should have 20 European events’.
“I’m retiring in five years’ time, I’m out of here, I’m retiring to Spain in the sun, but people have got to take over so you have to start doing things now, you must never sit on your laurels, you’ve got to always look to the future.”
Harrington, who also provides commentary for Sky Sports, helped nurture the likes of Michael van Gerwen and Michael Smith through the PDC’s Youth Tour system, now known as the Development Tour, and believes darts’ tiered system replicates that of other mainstream sports.
He added: “We’re changing things with the youth, Steve Brown and Darren with the JDC are doing a great job, we’re now putting more money into them and want to see them progress because that’s another feeder system.
“When you look at the systems we’ve got, the Development Tour, the JDC, Challenge Tour, ProTour and European Tour and then the major events, it mirrors golf and that’s where we got it from.
“You take a sport that’s working perfect and you try and follow them, and that’s what we’ve done over the years.
“The future, for me, is Europe and the World Series, obviously.
“I think streaming may be a huge part of the future, even pay-per-view, I think that’s the way it’s going but we’re probably talking ten years down the line.”