ITV is to step back into televised PDC darts by screening the Partypoker.net European Championship.
Tony Wrighton will host the network’s coverage, along with commentators Stuart Pyke, Alan Warriner-Little and Chris Mason. All of ITV4’s coverage will be broadcast in high definition.
The £200,000 tournament will be played from July 28-31 at the Maritim Hotel in Dusseldorf, Germany, as 32 players compete for the £50,000 title.
The European Championship has been won in each of the past three years since its inception in 2008 by world number one Phil Taylor, who has defeated Adrian Lewis, Steve Beaton and Wayne Jones in the respective finals.
Taylor will be amongst this year’s qualifiers, with the world’s top 16 following the forthcoming World Matchplay joined by the top eight Players Championship Order of Merit qualifiers and the top eight European Order of Merit qualifiers.
The broadcasts on ITV4, which will be in high definition, will see them continue their coverage of PDC darts tournaments, having also previously screened the Grand Slam of Darts and Players Championship Finals, as well as the 2008 European Championship.
Sky Sports News regular Tony Wrighton takes over the presenting duties from Matt Smith, who has presented all of ITV’s darts coverage since they returned to the sport in 2007.
Sky Sports have since taken over the rights to screen the Grand Slam tournament. But PDC chairman Barry Hearn is keen for darts to gain more terrestrial exposure.
“We’re delighted to continue our association with ITV4 through the PartyPoker.net European Championship,” said Hearn.
“This tournament has gained in popularity in each of the past three years, with the mix of the world’s top professionals and form qualifiers from Europe and the UK making it a vibrant tournament.”
The PartyPoker.net European Championship will add to ITV4’s existing sports coverage, which includes Aviva Premiership Rugby, Heineken Cup Rugby, Indian Premier League Cricket, Tour de France and the UEFA Europa League.
Niall Sloane, ITV Controller of Sport, said: “We’re delighted to be broadcasting free to air coverage of the European Championship to our viewers.”
The tournament is already set to be a huge success in Germany, where tickets have already sold out for five of the six sessions and coverage will be screened live on Sport1.
Dutch broadcaster RTL7 and Australia’s Fox Sports will also screen the event live in July.
European Championship – TV Schedule:
Thursday 28th July – Day 1 (8x First Round) – 7pm-11pm – ITV4 (HD)
Friday 29th July – Day 2 (8x First Round) – 7pm-11pm – ITV4 (HD)
Saturday 30th July – Day 3 (4x Second Round) – 1pm-5pm – ITV4 (HD)
(4x Second Round) – 7pm-11pm – ITV4 (HD)
Sunday 31st July – Day 4 (Quarter Finals) – 1pm-5pm – ITV4 (HD)
(Semi Finals / Final) – 7pm-11pm – ITV4 (HD)