VAN GERWEN & CROSS TO CLASH ON UNIBET PREMIER LEAGUE'S OPENING NIGHT
REIGNING Unibet Premier League champion Michael van Gerwen will face new World Champion Rob Cross on the opening night of the 2018 season on Thursday February 1 in Dublin, with the fixtures for the first nine weeks confirmed.
Ten stars of darts will begin their quest to claim the prestigious Unibet Premier League title at Dublin's 3Arena next month, with the 16-week campaign being broadcast live on Sky Sports and worldwide.
The season will include Judgement Night after nine matches where the bottom two players in the table are eliminated after the players have faced each other once in the league phase.
The remaining eight players then continue their battle to secure places at May's Play-Offs in London, where the top four from the final league table will compete for the title.
The opening night on February 1 in Dublin will feature the high-profile meeting between Van Gerwen and Cross, who recently played out a classic World Championship semi-final which went to a sudden-death leg at Alexandra Palace.
Van Gerwen is the reigning Premier League champion following his third success in the tournament when he was victorious in last year's Play-Offs, while Cross will be making his Premier League debut following his incredible emergence.
Another big clash in Dublin will see a repeat of the 2017 UK Open final as Peter Wright - last year's Premier League runner-up - takes on Welsh debutant Gerwyn Price.
Northern Ireland's Daryl Gurney makes his first Premier League appearance against 2014 champion Raymond van Barneveld, and the event's final newcomer, Austrian ace Mensur Suljovic, plays Australia's Simon Whitlock, while Gary Anderson meets Michael Smith.
The second league night, to be held on Thursday February 8 at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, will see Welsh ace Price take to the stage in his home country against Anderson.
Van Gerwen plays Wright in a repeat of the 2017 Premier League final, Cross takes on Suljovic, Van Barneveld plays Suljovic and Smith will clash with Gurney.
The third league night, at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, will be headlined by the repeat of the 2015 Premier League final and 2017 World Championship final as Anderson meets Van Gerwen.
The players ranked second and third in the world, Wright and Cross, also come head-to-head in Newcastle, while Suljovic plays Smith, Gurney takes on Price and Whitlock faces Van Barneveld.
Night Four on Thursday February 22 sees the tournament visit Berlin for the first time, with over 10,000 fans set to pack the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
The five ties on the night in Germany will include reigning Premier League champion Van Gerwen meeting World Grand Prix champion Gurney.
World Champion Cross plays Van Barneveld, UK Open champion Wright plays two-time Premier League winner Anderson, Champions League of Darts winner Suljovic faces Price and Smith takes on Whitlock.
Night Five at the Westpoint Arena in Exeter will see Van Gerwen take on Suljovic, Anderson play Cross, Gurney meet Wright, Van Barneveld face Smith and Whitlock come up against Price.
The visit to the First Direct Arena in Leeds on Thursday March 8 will include World Champion Cross playing former World Youth Champion Smith, with the pair having also recently clashed in a thriller at the World Championship.
Van Gerwen will take on Australian face Whitlock, Wright plays Suljovic, Price meets Van Barneveld and Anderson takes on Gurney in the other ties in Leeds.
Night Seven sees the tournament return to the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham, where former Premier League champions Anderson and Van Barneveld will face off.
Van Gerwen meets Price, with the pair having contested a classic at the World Championship recently, while Cross plays Suljovic, Whitlock faces Gurney in a repeat of the 2017 World Grand Prix final and Smith plays Wright.
The tournament's visit to Glasgow's SSE Hydro on Thursday March 22 includes Scottish stars Anderson and Wright come up against Whitlock and Van Barneveld respectively.
Van Gerwen will play Smith, Gurney takes on Suljovic and Cross plays Price in the other tie on the season's first of two visits to Scotland.
The first phase of the Unibet Premier League season then concludes on Thursday March 29 with Judgement Night at Belfast's SSE Arena.
Northern Irish star Gurney will appear on his 'home' stage against World Champion Cross, while Dutch rivals Van Gerwen and Van Barneveld also face off.
Wright will play Whitlock, Anderson faces Suljovic in a repeat of the 2017 Champions League of Darts final, while Smith plays Price.
Following Judgement Night, the remaining eight players then do battle for Play-Off places by facing each other once more in the league phase, with fixtures to be confirmed after the Belfast event at www.pdc.tv.
Tickets for the Unibet Premier League are available via www.pdc.tv/tickets.
2018 Unibet Premier League Dates & Venues
Night One - February 1
Mensur Suljovic v Simon Whitlock
Gary Anderson v Michael Smith
Daryl Gurney v Raymond van Barneveld
Michael van Gerwen v Rob Cross
Peter Wright v Gerwyn Price
Tickets via www.ticketmaster.ie and 0818 719 300 (ROI) or 0844 847 2455 (UK & NI)
Night Two - February 8
Motorpoint Arena Cardiff
Michael Smith v Daryl Gurney
Rob Cross v Simon Whitlock
Michael van Gerwen v Peter Wright
Gerwyn Price v Gary Anderson
Raymond van Barneveld v Mensur Suljovic
Tickets via www.motorpointarenacardiff.co.uk and 029 2022 4488
Night Three - February 15
Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle
Mensur Suljovic v Michael Smith
Daryl Gurney v Gerwyn Price
Peter Wright v Rob Cross
Gary Anderson v Michael van Gerwen
Simon Whitlock v Raymond van Barneveld
Tickets via www.eventim.co.uk and 0844 493 6666
Night Four - February 22
Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin
Michael Smith v Simon Whitlock
Gerwyn Price v Mensur Suljovic
Michael van Gerwen v Daryl Gurney
Rob Cross v Raymond van Barneveld
Peter Wright v Gary Anderson
Tickets via PDC Europe and through Affilitix +49 361 644 189 760 and with email support via firstname.lastname@example.org
Night Five - March 1
Westpoint Arena, Exeter
Gary Anderson v Rob Cross
Daryl Gurney v Peter Wright
Mensur Suljovic v Michael van Gerwen
Raymond van Barneveld v Michael Smith
Simon Whitlock v Gerwyn Price
Tickets via www.ticketzone.co.uk and 08444 99 99 55
Night Six - March 8
First Direct Arena, Leeds
Michael van Gerwen v Simon Whitlock
Gerwyn Price v Raymond van Barneveld
Peter Wright v Mensur Suljovic
Gary Anderson v Daryl Gurney
Rob Cross v Michael Smith
Tickets via www.eventim.co.uk and 0844 248 1585
Night Seven - March 15
Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham
Michael Smith v Peter Wright
Simon Whitlock v Daryl Gurney
Mensur Suljovic v Rob Cross
Gerwyn Price v Michael van Gerwen
Raymond van Barneveld v Gary Anderson
Tickets via www.motorpointarenanottingham.com and 0843 373 3000
Night Eight - March 22
The SSE Hydro, Glasgow
Daryl Gurney v Mensur Suljovic
Michael van Gerwen v Michael Smith
Gary Anderson v Simon Whitlock
Peter Wright v Raymond van Barneveld
Rob Cross v Gerwyn Price
Tickets via www.thessehydro.com and 0844 395 4000
Judgement Night - March 29
The SSE Arena, Belfast
Mensur Suljovic v Gary Anderson
Michael Smith v Gerwyn Price
Raymond van Barneveld v Michael van Gerwen
Daryl Gurney v Rob Cross
Simon Whitlock v Peter Wright
Tickets via www.ssearenabelfast.com and 028 9073 9074
Tickets priced at £45/£39 and £25.50 including booking fee
Fixtures from Week Ten onwards to be confirmed at www.pdc.tv following Judgement Night.
Night Ten - April 5
Echo Arena, Liverpool
Tickets via www.echoarena.co.uk and 0844 8000 400
Night 11 - April 12
The FlyDSA Arena, Sheffield
Tickets via www.flydsaarena.co.uk and 0114 256 5656
Night 12 - April 19
Tickets via www.ticketmaster.nl and 0900 300 1250 (Netherlands, 60 cpm) or 0031 88 123 24 25 (Outside Netherlands)
Night 13 - April 26
The Manchester Arena
Tickets via www.eventim.co.uk and 0844 847 8000
Night 14 - May 3
Tickets via www.theticketfactory.com and 0844 33 88 222
Night 15 - May 10
The BHGE Arena, Aberdeen
Tickets via www.ticketmaster.co.uk/AECC and 08444 77 9000
Play-Offs - May 17
The O2, London
Tickets via www.axs.com and 0844 856 0202
Tickets sold subject to standards PDC Terms & Conditions. The PDC only recommends purchasing tickets from Box Offices listed at www.pdc.tv/tickets.