Dubai: The Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters won’t be returning to the emirate for the foreseeable future, according to DDF executive vice-chairman and chief executive officer Colm McLoughlin.
Dubai was a founding city on the Professional Darts Corporation’s (PDC) World Series of Darts tour and kicked-off the global series for five years from 2013 to 2017, with three straight wins for Michael van Gerwen followed by two in a row for Gary Anderson.
The event gained notoriety because it was the world’s first and only darts tournament to be played outside in the heat and wind, at Dubai Tennis Stadium in Garhoud’s Irish Village.
In February of this year, the PDC announced that the event would be taking a hiatus until 2019 after the usual (last weekend of May) schedule clashed with Ramadan. However, McLoughlin has now confirmed to Gulf News that the event won’t be coming back next year as planned or any time soon.
“We were in debate with the organisers and it was costing us a lot more money than it should have done and we weren’t getting the business at the Irish Village that we expected from it,” he said.
“We found for other events that the Irish Village and Dubai Tennis Stadium is a great place to have events, but the darts just didn’t work.”
McLoughlin has suggested an alternative venue to the PDC, who are owned by Barry Hearn’s Matchroom Sports, but he says it’s a long-term fix and won’t involve remaining under the DDF’s remit.
“There’s a new arena being built over at City Walk and of course that’s a long term thing, and I don’t think it’s a runner, but we had discussions with them (the PDC) about the possibility of having it there in the future, that won’t happen immediately, so the quick answer is there’s no darts next year.
“I think it will be licensed,” he said of the proposed new venue’s food and beverage offering, “but it’s very long-term compared to what we have here,” he added in reference to Irish Village.