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World Matchplay to feature crowd noise and virtual fan interaction

Jamie Shaw in World Matchplay 14 Jul 2020
Fans are being offered the chance to feature on video walls (Photo by PDC)

Crowd noise will be played into the arena at the 2020 World Matchplay, while fans are also being given the chance to appear on video walls.

This year’s Betfred World Matchplay will take place behind closed doors at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes from July 18-26, with 32 players competing for the Phil Taylor Trophy.

The top 16 players in the PDC Order of Merit will be joined by the 16 highest ranked players from the ProTour Order of Merit in competing for £700,000 in prize money.

It will be the first time the prestigious major has been held away from the Winter Gardens in Blackpool since the tournament began in 1994.

However, fans will be given the chance to have their messages and reactions shown on video walls inside the arena during key moments in matches.

These will include 180 cheers, match-winning checkout celebrations, best fancy dress outfits and nine-darter celebrations.

Artificial crowd noise will also be played into the arena so it is audible to the players during matches, as seen in Premier League football matches of late.

It is hoped that the crowd noise will encourage players to show their usual level of emotions during matches and celebrate in front the fans.

Players will be competing on a full-scale stage while maintaining social distancing, though it is not yet known whether traditional walk-ons will be maintained.

Sky Sports will be broadcasting the entire event, with a new presenter set to be unveiled following Dave Clark’s announcement that he has stepped down from his role with immediate effect.

Women’s world number eight Laura Turner has confirmed she will be part of the commentary team from Monday to Wednesday next week.

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