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Pro Darts Is a Raucous Party Now, and It’s Finally Coming to New York

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Back in February, the Welsh professional-darts player Gerwyn Price did something amazing. On a single night of Premier League competition in Belfast, he landed two separate nine-dart finishes, which is to say he twice reached the 501 points required to win a leg of a match with the minimum number of throws. One of these in a major event is an impressive achievement; two of them in a night is historic.

But the scene around him might have been more incredible than the accomplishment itself — at least for those unfamiliar with modern European darts culture. As Price’s darts hit the board, an excited announcer informed the sold-out, 7,500-strong crowd of the score as if he were introducing the ’96 Bulls. Those fans, many of whom were wearing Halloween-like costumes, went wild, jumping and screaming and throwing beverages in the air. And when Price landed three triple-20s in a row, the place erupted as fans held up “180” signs, similar to the “Perfect 10” signs you might see following an especially epic jam at the NBA’s slam-dunk contest.

“The crowd went absolutely ballistic,” Price recalls, describing spectators flinging their alcoholic beverages in the air. “These beers are not cheap,” he says. “You’re talking seven, eight pounds a pint, and they’re just chucking ’em everywhere like nothing really matters. For me, to look off that stage and see that sort of atmosphere, it’s spine-tingling.”

That a darts competition would inspire the kind of fervor more associated with rowdy soccer fandom is largely thanks to a U.K.-based group called the Professional Darts Corporation. Over the past three decades, the ambitious organization has taken a low-key barroom staple and jazzed it up, adding pyrotechnics, dancers, and dramatic entrance music, among........

© Daily Intelligencer

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