Christmas would not be Christmas without the William Hill World Darts Championships and Sky Sports will have every angle covered from Alexandra Palace, with the action underway from December 14.
This year marks the 25th year of the World Championships organised by the PDC – a remarkable achievement when the risk factor for the 16 original players who broke away from the BDO is factored into the equation.
Sky Sports have been with the PDC every step of the way from Dennis Priestley’s triumph over Phil Taylor in that first edition of the tournament in 1994, through The Power’s domination through the late 90s and 2000s and the emergence of Michael van Gerwen as the sport’s dominant force.
Things have changed with the £16,000 first prize from a prize fund of £64,000 back then now dwarfed by a £400,000 winners cheque from a record pot of £1.4m.
The tournament is now also a straight knockout from those early years of the group format and 2018 promises to be the most thrilling instalment yet as Taylor prepares to throw his final competitive darts and the all-conquering Michael van Gerwen defends the title he won for a second time in a breathtaking final over Gary Anderson.
The usual cast of favourites join The Power and MVG, with two-time champions Gary Anderson and Adrian Lewis chasing a treble and fans’ favourite Raymond van Barneveld after a sixth world title of his own.
Daryl Gurney, Mensur Suljovic, James Wade and Peter Wright are among the major winners chasing a first world crown while new names are emerging all the time with all eyes on Rob Cross and whether he can cap an astonishing debut season in spectacular fashion.
Phil Taylor: The Greatest
But all eyes will also be on The Power and what promises to be an emotional journey for the 57-year-old from Stoke-on-Trent who has dominated his sport like no other.
The 16-time champion of the world begins on Friday December 15 against Chris Dobey as he chases the fairy-tale finale and a first world championship since 2014.
But with the tournament his last in competitive darts, every trip to the stage will feel like a farewell and to mark the occasion we have spoken to the legendary champion on his life and his journey from humble beginnings to the very top of the tree.
Rod Studd sat down with Phil to discuss his career and you can see the whole show on Tuesday December 12 on Sky Sports Main Event with repeats planned throughout the tournament.
Sky Sports Darts
Everyone’s favourite Christmas channel is back as Sky Sports Arena becomes Sky Sports Darts for the duration of the tournament.
Sky Sports Darts will feature every dart live, starting with the opening night of the tournament which gets underway with a special preview show live from Ally Pally at 6.30pm on Thursday December 14 before the action on the oche begins at 7pm, also available on Main Event.
Coverage continues with 15 days of live tungsten through to the final on New Year’s Day and there will be highlights of all 22 sessions from the first round through to the tournament’s dramatic conclusion.
With only four days of no live action, Sky Sports Darts should still be your channel of choice with a host of bespoke programming including classic matches from the past, great moments and interviews from 25 years of darting brilliance including our Phil Taylor Special, A Little Bit of Fry and Waddell and Darts Gold.
If you are dragged out and about for last-minute Christmas shopping there are no excuses for not staying up to date – bookmark www.skysports.com/darts for all your darting needs throughout the competition.
We will be building up to the tournament with a host of feature content including polls, quizzes and interviews and once the tungsten is underway, we will be live blogging all the action, including clips of all the big finishes and memorable moments as the darting drama unfolds.
As well as all that we will have regular contributions from the Sky Sports team, with Wayne Mardle, Rod Harrington and John Part among the names delivering their expert verdict.
We also want you to get involved by following us @SkySportsDarts and as always use #LoveTheDarts – our Sky Sports Facebook page will also be the place to be for plenty of behind-the-scenes build-up throughout the tournament.
We want your pictures, opinions and predictions throughout and the best will feature in our live blog as we get you to join in the conversation.
The 2018 World Championship from Alexandra Palace starts on Thursday December 14 and ends New Year’s Day – coverage available on Sky Sports Darts
Keep up to date with the news as the PDC celebrates 25 years on Sky Sports. So get all the latest at www.skysports.com/darts and join in the conversation @SkySportsDarts – don’t forget to use #LoveTheDarts
(c) Sky News 2017: World Darts Championship live on Sky Sports Darts