One of the most frustrating things, about being a passionate darts fan, is the refusal of people and organisations to take the game seriously or give credit for the game’s achievements and the progress it has made.
A fine example was a recent article in The Economist. The title (Bull Market) and the sub heading – A Pastime’s Journey From Pub to Prime Time – suggested that this would be a serious and even positive look at the modern game.
Oh, how I should have known better!
In seven bitter paragraphs, disguised as a serious business article, darts players, its business model and fans are disparaged or belittled on multiple occasions. As much doubt as possible is then cast upon its likely long term success.
“Bear bellied blokes” , “peculiar British pastime”, “staggered out of the pub and onto television”, “loutish reputation”, “Britain’s biggest pantomime”, “pint swilling fans”, “Results of the matches don’t matter”.
The above remarks are just examples from a piece, that claims to explore the likelihood of Darts and the PDC model being successful in the USA, in one of our major (business/politics) ‘serious’ publications.
It is amazing how often the press resort to lazy stereotypes, when looking at darts, and how infrequently they comment on the huge potential of such an inclusive, diverse and equal professional game. No one is suggesting that some of the points are not valid, or have elements of truth in them, but the imbalance and sloppiness is shameful. No effort appears to have been made to explore the progress made or the increasing professionalism of all involved.
Surely, Barry Hearn, on behalf of the PDC and its players, should pen a rebuttal to this and send it to the editor in the hope of representing the positive elements of their remarkable efforts in the last fifteen years or so. In addition the PDPA and the major darts manufacturers should also be up-in-arms at the way their efforts and investments are dismissed perhaps they could demonstrate the true nature of the industry to our friends at The Economist.
Finally, I feel that the author, editor and The Economist in general should have a good look at themselves to see if they have fallen for the ancient error of dismissing something that they feel is beneath them. The piece stinks of the basic forms of snobbery.
Perhaps the powers that be feel that any publicity is good publicity. In this case I sincerely hope not!