The 2021 Premier League Darts play-offs will be held in front of a sell-out crowd at the Marshall Arena in…
The 2021 Premier League Darts play-offs will be held in front of a sell-out crowd at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes later this month.
Tickets for the final week of the Premier League Darts campaign went on general sale on Thursday and the vast majority of seats have already been snapped up as fans return to a televised PDC event for the first time since the opening night of the World Championship last December.
The last four league nights of the round-robin phase from May 24-27 will be followed by the Play-Offs on Friday May 28 – which will be held in front of a 1,000-strong crowd.
Speaking to Sky Sports, PDC Chief Executive Matt Porter said: “We can’t wait – it’s the best news we’ve had for 15-16 months.
“To put tickets on sale and we’ve sold out of Friday, the final night, already and Thursday’s getting on its way, and Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we’re going to have a great crowd in as well.
“Everybody’s been lifted by what’s happening and it really feels like we’re on our way out of things.
“There will be, of course, Government guidelines that we’ll be following and the venue will be Covid safe.
“The Marshall Arena have excellent staff and we’ll be working very closely with them to make sure that everything’s put on in a safe and controlled manner to ensure that people can come and enjoy their evening and also feel reassured that they’re not at any risk.”
News of fans being able to return to events has also been met with an excited response from the remaining eight Premier League stars, and Porter added: “The guys backstage are buzzing. They cannot wait to get out there and play in front of a crowd again.
“They’re excited and for those eight players to know that the next time they come back to Milton Keynes there’s going to be people there watching them ply their trade is something that they’ve been really excited to get to that point so it’s great news.”
Following the conclusion of the Premier League, focus will move to July’s Betfred World Matchplay in Blackpool – with anticipation high for a capacity crowd at the Winter Gardens.
“So far the information we have is that if that June 21 deadline with the lifting of all social restrictions is met, then we will be at the Winter Gardens in the middle of July with no limits whatsoever,” Porter added.
“That’s great because we’ve got thousands of ticket holders from last year and we hope that they’ll be joined by thousands more people all coming to remind themselves what a great night they can have at the darts.”
The global pandemic has proven a huge test for the PDC since March 2020, but Porter praised the response which has enabled tournaments to continue mainly behind closed doors during that time.
“I’ve been doing this for the best part of 20 years and it’s without doubt the biggest challenge that myself and probably anybody in a similar position would have faced during that period,” admitted Porter.
“It’s unprecedented, it was unknown, we didn’t know when we might be able to come out of it and we didn’t know how we’d come out of it.
“It has been a challenge but the way that everybody’s responded – the staff, our partners, the players especially – is something we can be very proud of.”