The BDO & PDC split: What Really Happened?
For years, the British Darts Organisation BDO controlled the game of professional darts in the UK and to this day still operates a World Championship and number of tournament events.
However, it is no longer the ruler of the sport despite having had the world at its feet for so long.
So, what happened? How did the BDO go from supreme leader of a growing sport to playing second fiddle to the new kid on the block: the PDC?
At the end of the 1980’s and into the early 1990’s, Darts under the stewardship of the BDO was staring to decline and the heady days of TV and impressive prize pools appeared to be behind the sport.
Fewer events were being televised which led to less revenue and prize money causing frustration among the games leading lights who had turned full-time professional during the sports heydays earlier in the decade.
Now their very livelihood was at stake, in 1993, 16-of the world’s top ranked players including every active former world champion took a stand against what they perceived to be an organisation not doing enough for the players and sport in general.
These players formed the World Darts Council (WDC) to tackle the issue and raise the profile of the sport themselves.
Things turned ugly pretty quickly as the BDO responded by banning all sixteen defectors from competing in BDO tournaments.
This was endorsed by the World Darts Federation (the overall body of darts) which meant all sixteen players were banned from tournaments worldwide.
A bitter legal battle ensued but in 1997, an agreement was reached where the BDO officially recognized the WDC and its members rights to choose which tournaments they play in with the WDC agreeing to recognize the WDF as the governing body of world darts and the BDO as the body of British darts.
It was here that the WDC changed its name to become the Professional Darts Corporation (or PDC as it is more commonly refered as).
PDC takes over
Darts has since risen to astronomical heights all thanks to TV exposure and the PDC secured a deal with Sky Sports to show case a number of events.
Now those tournaments are on the box on a weekly basis with the PDC arranged events now taking in its own World Championships (largely viewed by fans as THE world Championship event) and its very own Premier League.
Whilst the PDC have been busy growing the game, the BDO appears to have stagnated.
So much so in fact that in 2009, the PDC offered £1 million to take over the BDO (although that offer was rejected).
With the PDC riding so high, in an attempt to raise its profile, the BDO lifted a ban on PDC players competing in BDO events from October 2018.
What difference that has remains to be seen as for now, the PDC has risen to the very top and has out the game of darts in very good health indeed.