The countdown to the world’s biggest darts tournament is over as Alexandra Palace plays host to the sporting treat of the festive season – the 2015 William Hill World Championship – and fans can every darts thrown live on the Sky Sports Darts channel.
All of the PDC’s top players will descend on north London from December 18 to January 4 and the sell-out crowds inside the arena and fans watching on Sky Sports will witness yet more thrilling tungsten action, with the winner collecting the prestigious Sid Waddell Trophy and a whopping £250,000 in prize money.
Michael van Gerwen became the youngest ever PDC World Championship winner when he defeated Peter Wright in a close final last year at Ally Pally, having also reached the same stage in 2013 when he lost another tense finale to Phil Taylor.
The ‘Mighty’ Dutchman finally lifted what is widely considered to be the biggest and most challenging of all televised tournaments in world darts, with his victory coming almost a decade after he first emerged on the scene as a teen darting prodigy.
The 25-year-old has since risen to become the best thrower in the world, dethroning the great Phil Taylor at the top of the PDC’s order of merit this year, entering Ally Pally 2015 as number one seed for the first time.
Van Gerwen will face stiff competition to retain his crown from the likes of Adrian Lewis, Peter Wright, James Wade and 16-time world champion Taylor, who suffered a shock second-round exit at the hands of Michael Smith 12 months ago.
Taylor will come into this year’s tournament with a high level of confidence though, after recently winning the Grand Slam of Darts for a sixth time after beating Dave Chisnall.
‘The Power’ will of course be one of a number of major contenders to wrestle back the title won by van Gerwen last year, but alongside the established names from the UK and Europe, there are plenty of other top players from all corners of the world who be vying for the big prize, such is the strength and depth of PDC darts today.
Also competing will be the reigning BDO world champion Stephen Bunting, who made the switch across to the PDC shortly after his success at the rival tournament over at Lakeside.
Bunting will certainly be one to watch at Ally Pally having risen impressively up the rankings during the season, claiming some big name scalps at major televised events along the way, including victories over Phil Taylor.
Another former BDO world champion making his debut in the PDC Worlds this year is 2012 Lakeside winner Christian Kist, while his fellow Dutchman Benito van de Pas also makes his debut at the event, having also played over at Frimley Green in recent years.
Other possible outsiders for the title include former semi-finalist Terry Jenkins, who finished runner-up in the UK Open and European Championship this year and landed a memorable nine-dart leg at Ally Pally 12 months ago, while five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld will be hoping to rediscover the form that took him to that incredible title back in 2007.
As well as all the familiar faces from PDC darts, there will also be plenty of representation in the preliminary rounds from across the globe, from South Africa to Hong Kong and Greece to the Philippines, with all the international players looking to make their mark for themselves and their countries on the world stage.
Darts fans will be served an even bigger feast of tungsten action this Christmas as for the first time in the tournament’s history, Sky Sports is to dedicate an entire channel to its coverage of the PDC World Championship, with Sky Sports 3 turning into Sky Sports Darts from December 18.
The tournament will kick off with the preliminary and first rounds being held across the first six days, ahead of the Christmas break, before the second round and third round takes place from December 27-30.
All the drama and excitement resumes on New Year’s Day with the first of two nights of quarter-final action, with both semi-finals on Saturday, January 3, followed by the showpiece final taking place on Sunday, January 4.
With 72 players competing to win and over £1 million in prize money, the likes of Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor, Adrian ‘Jackpot’ Lewis, defending champion ‘Mighty’ Michael van Gerwen and many more will all be in the mix to lift the huge trophy on January 4 and fans cans watch every clash live on Sky Sports Darts.
Sky Sports will be throwing 180s aplenty over the festive season as it presents comprehensive coverage of the 2014 William Hill World Championship – all exclusively live on Sky Sports Darts.
From 6.00am on December 18 to the night of the final itself January 4, Sky Sports 3 transforms into Sky Sports Darts and the dedicated channel will offer arrows fans over 370 hours of programming, including live coverage of one of sport’s most colourful events over the entire festive season.
Sky Sports Darts will be the home of 18 days of non-stop tungsten television as the biggest names in arrows battle for the Sid Waddell Trophy in front of sell-out crowds at Alexandra Palace.
Dave Clark will anchor the channel’s coverage from a studio overlooking the main stage, where he will be joined for expert analysis and comment by three-time world champion John Part, former World Matchplay finalist Wayne Mardle, five-time World Champion Eric Bristow and two-time World Matchplay winner Rod Harrington.
All four pundits will also be in commentary box throughout the tournament alongside Sky Sports regulars Rod Studd, Stuart Pyke and Nigel Pearson, while Sky Sports F1 commentator and darts fan David Croft will also present and provide commentary on selected sessions, with Laure James conducting interviews with the players.
Sky Sports has covered every PDC World Darts Championship since the tournament’s inception in 1994 and it has expanded significantly in those two decades with record spectator attendances and impressive TV viewing figures.
As well as live coverage from Ally Pally, Sky Sports Darts will screen a host of programmes and features including a fascinating documentary with reigning champion Michael van Gerwen.
Sky Sports will show ‘World Darts Years’, which highlights the greatest moments from the tournament’s history from 1994 to the present day.
Other programming incldes series of Legends specials and a look back at some of the sport’s best matches, including the 2003 World Championship final, where John Part ended Phil Taylor’s run of eight successive World Championships, and the game that changed darts forever; the World Championship final between Raymond van Barneveld and Phil Taylor in 2007.
Commenting on the Sky’s new dedicated darts channel for the tournament, Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports, said: “Sky Sports Darts will offer all the drama, excitement and atmosphere from Alexandra Palace for two weeks over Christmas.
“The channel will show every match live, all the build-up and analysis plus a fantastic schedule of features too.”
Throughout the tournament, the Sky Sports darts website – skysports.com/darts – has all the latest news, features, video and analysis, and Twitter users can get behind-the-scenes pictures, news, live commentary and statistics by following the official Sky Sports Darts account – @SkySportsDarts.
Subscribers to Sky Sports can also watch online streaming of every session via Sky Go, available on PCs, laptops, mobiles and tablet devices, while non-subscribers can either enjoy seven days’ access to the Sky Sports Darts channel and Sky Sports’ other six channels contract-free on TV and a range of devices with NOW TV.
Sunday 14th December Mighty Michael van Gerwen 7.00pm-8.00pm Sky Sports 1
Wednesday 17th December Darts: 2014 Year In Review 10.00am-12.00pm Sky Sports 1
Thursday 18th December PDC World Darts Championship 2015 Preview LIVE: 6.00pm-7.00pm Sky Sports Darts / Sky 2 DAY 1: 1st Round (Best of 5 sets) / Prelims* (Best of 7 legs) LIVE: 7.00pm-11.30pm Sky Sports Darts / Sky 2 John Part (30) 2-3 Keegan Brown Christian Perez 0-4 Cristo Reyes* Jelle Klaasen (29) 3-1 Christian Kist
Michael van Gerwen (1) 3-1 Joe Cullen
Wes Newton (13) 2-3 Cristo Reyes
Friday 19th December DAY 2: 1st Round (Best of 5 sets) / Prelims* (Best of 7 legs) LIVE: 7.00pm-11.30pm Sky Sports Darts Andy Hamilton (12) 3-2 Dave Richardson
Kim Viljanen 1-4 Sascha Stein*
Peter Wright (5) 3-0 Gerwyn Price
Phil Taylor (2) 3-0 Jyhan Artut
Stuart Kellett (32) 1-3 Sascha Stein
Saturday 20th December DAY 3: 1st Round (Best of 5 sets) / Prelims* (Best of 7 legs) LIVE: 12.30pm-5.00pm & 7.00pm-11.30pm Sky Sports Darts Afternoon Session Andy Smith (28) 0-3 Ronny Huybrechts Scott Mackenzie 3-4 Daryl Gurney* Justin Pipe (17) 2-3 Lawrence Ryder Robert Thornton (9) 3-0 Andrew Gilding Ronnie Baxter (24) 3-1 Daryl Gurney Evening Session Steve Beaton (21) 0-3 Kyle Anderson Mark McGrath 0-4 Scott Kirchner* Terry Jenkins (16) 3-1 John Weber Simon Whitlock (7) 1-3 Darren Webster Gary Anderson (4) 3-1 Scott Kirchner
Sunday 21st December DAY 4: 1st Round (Best of 5 sets) / Prelims* (Best of 7 legs) LIVE: 12.30pm-5.00pm & 7.00pm-11.30pm Sky Sports Darts Afternoon Session Paul Nicholson (25) 2-3 Benito van de Pas
Boris Koltsov 4-2 Haruki Muramatsu*
Mark Webster (31) 3-1 Ron Meulenkamp
Dean Winstanley (26) 3-2 Wayne Jones
Kevin Painter (20) 3-1 Boris Koltsov Evening Session Kim Huybrechts (18) 3-0 Michael Mansell
Jani Haavisto 1-4 John Michael*
Dave Chisnall (8) 3-0 Ryan De Vreede
James Wade (6) 3-1 Jamie Lewis
Ian White (15) 3-1 John Michael
Monday 22nd December DAY 5: 1st Round (Best of 5 sets) / Prelims* (Best of 7 legs) LIVE: Sky Sports Darts Jamie Caven (19) 3-2 Jason Hogg
Nolan Arendse 4-0 Alex Hon*
Michael Smith (22) 3-1 Mensur Suljovic
Raymond van Barneveld (14) 3-0 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Brendan Dolan (11) 3-0 Nolan Arendse
Tuesday 23rd December DAY 6: 1st Round (Best of 5 sets) / Prelims* (Best of 7 legs) LIVE: 7.00pm-12.00am Sky Sports Darts Vincent van der Voort (23) 3-2 John Henderson
Jermaine Wattimena 3-4 Robert Marijanovic*
Mervyn King (10) 2-3 Max Hopp
Adrian Lewis (3) 3-0 David Pallett
Stephen Bunting (27) 3-1 Robert Marijanovic
Saturday 27th December DAY 7: 2nd Round (Best of 7 sets) LIVE: 12.30pm-4.30pm & 7.00pm-11.00pm Sky Sports Darts Afternoon Session Robert Thornton 4-0 Ronnie Baxter Terry Jenkins 4-0 Laurence Ryder Peter Wright 4-1 Ronny Huybrechts Evening Session Dave Chisnall 2-4 Benito van de Pas
Michael van Gerwen 4-1 Sascha Stein
Gary Anderson 4-3 Jelle Klaasen
Sunday 28th December DAY 8: 2nd Round (Best of 7 sets) LIVE: 12.30pm-4.30pm & 7.00pm-11.00pm Sky Sports Darts Afternoon Session Andy Hamilton 4-2 Kyle Anderson Cristo Reyes 4-3 Kevin Painter Ian White 3-4 Kim Huybrechts Evening Session Darren Webster 3-4 Dean Winstanley Phil Taylor 4-0 Mark Webster Adrian Lewis 4-2 Keegan Brown
Monday 29th December DAY 9: 2nd Round (Best of 7 sets) / 3rd Round* (Best of 7 sets) LIVE: 12.30pm-4.30pm & 7.00pm-11.00pm Sky Sports Darts Afternoon Session Brendan Dolan 2-4 Michael Smith Max Hopp 0-4 Vincent van der Voort Raymond van Barneveld 4-3 Jamie Caven Evening Session James Wade 1-4 Stephen Bunting Michael van Gerwen 4-1 Terry Jenkins*
Benito van de Pas 0-4 Robert Thornton*
Tuesday 30th December DAY 10: 3rd Round (Best of 7 sets) LIVE: 12.30pm-4.30pm & 7.00pm-11.00pm Sky Sports Darts Afternoon Session Peter Wright 4-0 Andy Hamilton Gary Anderson 4-1 Cristo Reyes Dean Winstanley 2-4 Vincent van der Voort Evening Session Adrian Lewis 4-3 Raymond van Barneveld Phil Taylor 4-3 Kim Huybrechts Stephen Bunting 4-2 Michael Smith
Thursday 1st January DAY 11: Quarter Finals (Best of 9 sets) LIVE: 7.00pm-11.00pm Sky Sports Darts Michael van Gerwen 5-2 Robert Thornton Peter Wright 1-5 Gary Anderson
Friday 2nd January DAY 12: Quarter Finals (Best of 9 sets) LIVE: 7.00pm-11.00pm Sky Sports Darts Phil Taylor 5-3 Vincent van der Voort Stephen Bunting 4-5 Raymond van Barneveld
Saturday 3rd January DAY 13: Semi Finals (Best of 11 sets) LIVE: 7.00pm-11.00pm Sky Sports Darts Michael van Gerwen 3-6 Gary Anderson
Phil Taylor 6-2 Raymond van Barneveld
Sunday 4th January PDC World Darts Championship Final (Best of 13 sets) Gary Anderson 7-6 Phil Taylor LIVE: 8.00pm-10.30pm Sky Sports Darts / Sky Sports 1