McCoy's Premier League Expanded
THE McCoy's Premier League Darts will feature TEN players in 2013 under a new format which was announced on Wednesday evening, with Michael van Gerwen, Wes Newton and Robert Thornton to make their debuts in the tournament.
A radical change will see the field expanded from eight players to feature ten stars this year as they compete across 15 nights in the UK and Ireland's biggest arenas.
The ten players will face each other once over the opening nine weeks of the tournament, over the best of 12 legs, before the bottom two players in the league table are relegated following the ninth league night in Brighton.
The remaining eight players will then face each other again over the remaining five league nights before the top four progress to the Play-Offs at The O2 in London on May 16.
Reigning McCoy's Premier League Darts champion Phil Taylor - who won the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship on Tuesday - will head the field of ten players, alongside 2009 winner James Wade and 2011 champion Gary Anderson.
They are joined by established Premier League stars Adrian Lewis, Simon Whitlock and Raymond van Barneveld, while Andy Hamilton retains his place in the tournament following an impressive debut season in 2012.
World Grand Prix champion Michael van Gerwen, who has risen to fourth in the PDC Order of Merit following his run to the World Championship final, will make his McCoy's Premier League Darts debut this season alongside two other new faces, Wes Newton and Robert Thornton.
Newton's status amongst the world's elite was confirmed when he reached September's European Championship final, while Scottish star Thornton claimed the UK Open title in June with a thrilling victory over Taylor in Bolton.
"This new format for the McCoy's Premier League Darts is going to take the tournament to a whole new level," said PDC Chairman Barry Hearn.
"Fans across the UK and Ireland will experience five spectacular matches on each night, and all ten players have earned their spots with their achievements over the last 12 months.
"This new format will mean incredible competition both to avoid relegation and then for Play-Off places before the ninth McCoy's Premier League champion is crowned at The O2 in May."
The McCoy's Premier League Darts, screened live on Sky Sports HD, will begin on Thursday February 7 at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast before travelling to Aberdeen, Bournemouth, Exeter, Nottingham, Manchester, Cardiff, Glasgow and Brighton for the first phase of the event.
The final five league nights will be held in Sheffield, Dublin, Birmingham, Liverpool and Newcastle before the top four players progress to the Play-Offs at The O2 in London on May 16.
The McCoy’s Premier League Darts competitors are:
Phil Taylor - reigning and six-time Premier League Darts champion
Adrian Lewis - two-time World Champion
James Wade - 2009 Premier League Darts champion
Michael van Gerwen - 2012 World Grand Prix champion
Simon Whitlock - 2012 European Champion
Andy Hamilton - 2012 Premier League Darts semi-finalist
Wes Newton - 2012 European Championship finalist
Raymond van Barneveld - five-time World Champion
Gary Anderson - 2011 Premier League Darts champion
Robert Thornton - 2012 UK Open champion
|Night||Date||Venue||Box Office Info|
|Night One||Feb 7||Odyssey Arena, Belfast||
028 9073 9074
|Night Two||Feb 14||AECC, Aberdeen||
08444 77 9000
|Night Three||Feb 21||BIC, Bournemouth||
0844 576 3000
|Night Four||Feb 28||Westpoint Arena, Exeter||
08444 99 99 55
|Night Five||Mar 7||Capital FM Arena, Nottingham||
0843 373 3000
|Night Six||Mar 14||Manchester Arena||
0844 847 8000
|Night Seven||Mar 21||Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff||
02920 22 44 88
|Night Eight||Mar 28||SECC, Glasgow||
0844 395 4000
|Night Nine||Apr 4||The Brighton Centre||
0844 847 1515
|Night Ten||Apr 11||Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield||
0114 256 5656
|Night 11||Apr 18||The O2, Dublin||
00353 818 719 3000
|Night 12||Apr 25||NIA, Birmingham||
0844 338 8000
|Night 13||May 2||Echo Arena, Liverpool||
0844 8000 400
|Night 14||May 9||Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle||
0844 493 6666
|Play-Offs||May 16||The O2, London||
0844 856 0202