The size of the playing field, the players of which are still unknown, has been reduced from ten darters down to eight while the 16 league nights will now be contested as individual mini-tournaments made up of quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final, with all matches played to the best of 11 legs.
With the new format change, there is also the introduction of a £10,000 bonus to each night’s winner.
The tournament will still be played in the same stated 17 arenas across the UK, Ireland, Netherlands and Germany. The tournaments will still be held on the original Thursday night dates but will now offer up an increased £1 million prize fund.
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2022 Premier League of Darts Tournament Structure
New for 2022, every night of the PDC Premier League of Darts will feature eight players that will contest four quarter-final matches, with the winning four players progressing on to two semi-finals followed by a final to determine that week’s winner.
Each match will be played over a best-of-11 legs format.
Over the course of the competition, all players will play each of the other seven players twice.
Each time they will play in the quarter-final stage of that night’s mini tourney.
There will also be two additional nights that will feature extra fixtures, also best of 11 legs.
Ranking points will be awarded each night and applied to the Darts Premier League table.
After 16 nights, when all of the fixtures have been played, the top four players in the league table will progress to the play offs, which will be held the following week on the 26th of May at the Utilita Arena in Newcastle.
The ranking points that will decide the league table will be allocated as follows: five to the winner, three to the runner up and two each to both of the semi-finalists.
Judgement Night, traditionally week nine, has effectively been done away with. Over the 16 weeks, a draw will be formed for 14 nights, with an extra two nights, Night Eight and Night 16. Those nights will feature additional fixtures in the same format in a draw bracket based on the league table following Night Seven and Night 15, respectively.
Line Up Unknown
The lineup has yet to be announced, with the PDC likely to make their statement after next week’s Darts Masters event, as was the case in 2021 when Jonny Clayton’s victory meant that he was awarded the final spot in that year’s competition, an event he would also go on to win.
Darts fans can likely expect some of the world’s best darts players, including recently crowned World Champion Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright, world number one Gerwyn ‘The Iceman’ Price, returning Darts Premier League champion Jonny Clayton and Michael van Gerwen. all to be included among the eight players competing for this year’s title. Other potential participants include James Wade, Dimitri van den Bergh, Gary Anderson and Ally Pally runner up Michael Smith.
In a statement, PDC chief executive Matt Porter said, “The Premier League has grown beyond recognition since first being introduced 17 years ago, but the time was right to introduce this ground-breaking new format.
“Our new format means that every match matters. Every night throughout the season has its own champion and will provide even greater value for fans attending and watching around the world, with seven games playing through to a conclusion to find a winner in each venue.
“There is also the wider race to be involved in the Play Offs and to challenge for the overall Premier League title and a share of the massive £1 million prize money.
“We’ve already seen great interest across the UK and Europe from fans looking forward to attending the Premier League live once again, and this year they’ll be experiencing more top-class darts than ever before in this event.”
Queen Of The Premier League of Darts?
Queen of the Palace Fallon Sherrock recently failed to earn her two-year PDC Tour Card at Q School, but there is still the possibility that she could get one of the eight Darts Premier League places, should the ruling body factor in her popularity among darts fans.
That is, at least, according to 2020 BDO World Darts Championship quarter-finalist Laura Turner.
While many believe it should be the top eight ranked players on the PDC Order of Merit, Matchroom Sport, the owners of the PDC and chairman Eddie Hearn did float the idea that Sherrock had a chance late last year.
When asked about Sherrock’s potential Premier League inclusion, Turner said, “Yeah, I’ve said it before, she’s got to be one of the most commercial assets within darts at the moment. She’s hot property, everyone wants to see Fallon play.”
That view is not shared, however, by two-time PDC World Championship winner John Part.
The Canadian, who also has a BDO World Championship win under his belt, believes she shouldn’t be included in the final line up because it wouldn’t fair to her, or the others involved, due to the unforgiving nature of the tournament.
Darth Maple said, “I think it would be hard to pick her with the current format. Certainly, she is capable of playing. But if I was Fallon or representing her, I probably wouldn’t want her to. I know from experience it is a gristmill. It’s not favourable to somebody’s confidence. Yes, it is challenging and a great experience in a lot of ways, but it can really bash you as well. Yes, it would be good in a lot of ways to have Fallon in it. I don’t think it would be good for Fallon. I’m not sure it’s fair to others.”
The Premier League has undergone a number of format changes in the previous 17 seasons since the tournament was first introduced in 2005.
When it started out, there were just seven players involved which were later stretched to eight and then 10 competitors.
In recent years, we have even seen the inclusion of one-night challengers.
The 2022 Darts Premier League gets underway on Thursday the 3rd of February at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, just days after the conclusion of the 2022 Darts Masters at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
Darts Premier League Points
- Night Winner – 5 points + £10,000 bonus
- Runner-Up – 3 points
- Semi-Finalists – 2 points
2022 Premier League of Darts Schedule
- Night 1, Thursday February 3: Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
- Night 2, Thursday February 10: M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool
- Night 3, Thursday February 17: SSE Arena, Belfast
- Night 4, Thursday February 24: Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin
- Night 5, Thursday March 3: Westpoint Exeter
- Night 6, Thursday March 10: The Brighton Centre
- Night 7, Thursday March 17: Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham
- Night 8, Thursday March 24: Rotterdam Ahoy, Rotterdam
- Night 9, Thursday March 31: Utilita Arena Birmingham
- Night 10, Thursday April 7: First Direct Arena, Leeds
- Night 11, Thursday April 14: AO Arena, Manchester
- Night 12, Thursday April 21: P&J Live, Aberdeen
- Night 13, Thursday April 28: 3Arena, Dublin
- Night 14, Thursday May 5: OVO Arena, Glasgow
- Night 15, Thursday May 12: Utilita Arena, Sheffield
- Night 16, Thursday May 19: The O2, London
- Play-Offs, Thursday May 26: Utilita Arena Newcastle