View Full Version : Barry Hearn - The complete interview

1st December 2010, 08:25 AM
Question from member “Steve Metalman”

Hi Barry, thanks for opportunity to ask you this question.
Do you approach darts, snooker and boxing in different ways, or do you believe in one underlying principle in sports promotion, which only requires minor adjustment from sport to sport?
Do you have time to play darts yourself?

I approach all sports promotion with one principle – value for money. I have to appeal to the TV companies and live audiences as I am judged on ticket sales and ratings and I must give value to my sponsors.

I am absolutely useless at darts!

Question from member “the jaundiced Adonis”

Do you have any plans to televise/record coverage of the latter stages of the weekend floor tournaments? (Players Champs, UK Open qualifiers ect)

I am currently working on a scheme whereby we can televise Pro Tour events, but in today’s difficult market this may take some time. As a darts anorak myself, I would love to see a regular programme on the Pro Tour, as it is producing some fantastic matches.

Question from member “Tart 180”

Hello Barry
What is your plans for the woman of this great sport, do you plan in running any more tournaments for us, or is this PDC womens world champs a one off.?

The PDC Women’s World Championship is our step into women’s darts and we really have to see how it is received by the players and of course by our TV partners. It would help, however, if everyone pulled in the same direction and I really do not understand why Trina Gulliver never entered? Do you?

Question from member “Angusyoung”

Are the PDC preparing for life after Phil? His popularity helped make the PDC what it is but do you think viewing figures and sponsorship deals might decline when Phil retires and others don’t potentially live up to the hype?

You are certainly right. We would miss the great man if he was not around at the moment! What we are doing, however, is to make a big push in youth darts and encourage youngsters to view professional darts as a career opportunity. Hopefully this will enable us to find some new stars which would continue the growth of the sport.

Question from member “PDCJAYUK”

Hi Barry,
I've been hearing rumours that the pro tour floor events cost 1million a year to run, therefore running at a loss. Does this worry you slightly and do you plan to make any changes to the format/ coverage - i.e: championship league style?

It is true that we are investing about 1M a year on Pro Tour events, but this is our way of distributing our profits back to professional darts players. I love the Pro Tour and I think it is an integral part of the sport going forward and we will shortly announce increased prize funds for next year. The format is fine with me as everyone gets an opportunity and as you know it is very competitive.

Question from member “Don Hagliatelli”

Do you have any plans for different event types maybe including different darts games? I liked the Jocky Wilson Cup and the ‘one night only’ event gives the opportunity to try something different. I’d like to see knockout tournaments, something like Prizefighter. I’d also love to see the Pros playing some of the other variations of the game; Cricket, Halve-It, Killer, Shanghai etc.

We are always looking at new formats and new events, but in today’s recessionary market it is difficult to get support from TV companies at the moment. We have been lucky enough to get Sky to support the World Cup, but I do not want to confuse the market with variations of the game. I am very interested in spreading the game worldwide.

Question from member “Hawkeye”

Hello Barry
How long do you think the Premier League can continue in its current format?
Personally I think it's already run out of steam and has become stale and boring.
I understand that the PL is a massive cash cow for the PDC, but the arenas you're using are, in my opinion, too big for the sport And that many people can only lead to the rowdy, disrespectful (to the players) scenes that we are sadly seeing. So what can you do to get some respect (from the fans) back into the sport and to get interest back into the PL again.

Sorry I have to disagree with you on most of your points. This year the Premier League has hit record crowds and ratings and there is a saying in sport and life…. “if it’s not broken don’t fix it”. The Premier League is a hugely profitable event for the PDC and finances a lot of our development investment.

We need to work on crowds to get more respect for the players, but you have to understand that the Premier League is the one off experience that pays great prize money to an entirely different darts audience that normally turns up at the smaller events. This is the real world we live in, but the players are the beneficiaries.

Do you remember when there was no Premier League? Darts was not as interesting.

Question from member “Pearce161”

Since your offer to the BDO was rejected will you be making a challenge style tour to coincide with the PDC tour card system that can rival the BDO circuit for the amateur game?

No, all BDO matters are dead in the water and we are spending our money on increasing prize funds for players that are ambitious and really want to be professional sportsmen. We will increase Pro Tour prize funds and create more opportunities for our players because they are the flag bearers of the sport of darts.

Question from member “JEDI”

Hi Barry,
as a businessman, was your offer of the takeover of the BDO done because you genuinely wanted to merge the codes, and have the one governing organisation, or simply to disrupt the BDO as they were gearing up for their version of the world championships at the Lakeside and basically throw a cat in with the pigeons? as many have said was your soul intention. I myself would love to have seen how you would have taken the amature and grass roots of the game further, and still hope you manage to do this, as I feel it is nothing but good for the game.....

The BDO is not big enough to bother with disrupting! They are also not important enough for me to take my eye off the ball in my plans to globalize and revolutionize the sport of darts. The BDO has done nothing for over 20 years and what I was looking to do was to bring the two organizations into one merged operation for the benefit of all players - men, women and juniors. I offered to finance everything, but this was not considered appropriate and voted against by the County Associations, therefore, my interest in them is completely dead. I could have done, as you probably know, an unbelievable job for amateur and grass roots darts, not only with my expertise, which is something that has been lacking in the BDO for two decades. It is a shame, but that is life. The public know there is only one real professional darts body that has the best players in the world, playing for the biggest prize funds in the world and offering opportunities to ambitious players, to change their lives because of their excellence in the sport of darts. One day perhaps…….

Question from member “Viking”

Although I appreciate what you have done for the sport I am going to take a different direction with my question.
Some people feel that the growth of the PDC has affected the grass roots game and that the circuit event's are pricing out nearly everyone other than the pros, Whitlock brought this to the forefront at the worlds when he admitted that he couldn't afford to fund a season on the circuit himself without a significant sponsor so do you feel that the prices charged to play the circuit are justifiable?

It is true that we have created a professional circuit and this will inevitably mean that people have to commit themselves completely if they wish to make the type of living they can on the Tour. Simon Whitlock is a great example as you say. It is tough because it is meant to be tough, but look at the rewards, Simon has probably earned over 1/4M in the last six months, which has changed his life forever. The grass roots in the game should be inspired by the PDC and the opportunities that they have created and those that have the real dedication and ambition will make it, the others will just make excuses.

Question from member “Mshaw2”

Do you think we will ever see another Phil Taylor in our lifetime?