Darts in Germany: On the way to popular sport?

As of: 01/14/2023 4:09 p.m

The hype surrounding Gabriel Clemens at the World Cup in London brought many new fans to darts in Germany. What makes the sport so popular – and how could it continue?

“I hope that many young people will find their way into darts” – this is Gabriel Clemens’ greatest wish after the World Cup in London. The 39-year-old Saarlander is back at home in Saarwellingen-Reisbach – and suddenly in demand in the media. He is the first German to make it to a semi-final at the Darts World Cup.

Darts fever is raging in Germany. “What Gabriel has done for darts in Germany is great,” says professional player Fallon Sherrock. The darts world championship was the number one sports topic for weeks.

“Preserving the hype”

On the sofa at home, soccer world champion Thomas Müller kept his fingers crossed and tweeted “what a great #darts match by Gabriel Clemens”. The Prime Minister of Saarland Anke Rehlinger tweeted, “Saarland is proud of the best German of all time at the #dartsWM One of us!”.

The state was upside down. The former machinist is a celebrated hero. “Great cinema! Gaga,” wrote Martin Schindler, who took part in the third round of the World Cup, with full appreciation. “Now it’s a matter of preserving the hype, maybe even converting it into a sustainable trend.” Because now many people want to try this sport, which was once only played in pubs.

Development of youth work in darts in Germany is still in its infancy

Christian Riedl, BR, tagesschau24 2 p.m., 10.1.2023

What fascinates about darts?

Darts cost little money. 100 euros is enough for a board and decent arrows. Whether young or old, male or female, fat or thin, tall or short – everyone can play darts.

The Saarland Darts Association is pleased to have almost 200 new members. The number of active members has thus doubled within two years. According to the honorary chairman Johann Peltzer, Clemens and his World Cup appearances two years ago against the legend Peter Wright and now against Gerwynn Price and world champion Michael Smith are partly responsible.

Even the corona pandemic could not slow down the growing interest in darts in Germany. Axel Krauss from the German Darts Association says: “I think we are the only sport that has experienced a gain during Corona.” People would have made themselves comfortable at home and equipped themselves with darts paraphernalia. The number of members in darts clubs in Germany has risen from around 16,000 to over 22,000 since 2020.

How can this trend be expanded?

After the World Cup spectacle in Ally Pally is over and the loud “oh, Gabriel Clemens” chants on the London hill have died away, the stars trundle through Germany and present their skills at darts galas. Much more important, however, is the occupation of the Premier League. If Clemens is nominated, darts on 17 evenings between February and May would probably again ensure high ratings in Germany.

The top four in the world rankings are set: world champion Michael Smith from England, the Dutchman Michael van Gerwen, Scotland’s Peter Wright and Gerwyn Price from Wales. The PDC, the Professional Darts Corporation, decides on the four other participants.

The German market is of great interest to the PDC. However, Gabriel Clemens is still missing the sporting arguments. Although he has made it into the top twenty in the world with rank 19, but ahead of him there are others who can make higher demands on a place in terms of sport. Until the decision is made, Clemens has to wait and see.

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