The Darts World Cup has a high frequency. From the early afternoon until late at night, the players have been throwing arrows at each other every day for the past two weeks. And this time for the first time right in the middle: the Germans. The sport of darts is experiencing historic days in this country.
With Gabriel Clemens, a German is in the quarter-finals for the first time. Together with Martin Schindler and Florian Hempel, the “German Giant” ensured the best German record in World Cup history: five wins and two defeats mean only the second positive overall result after 2021 (4:3). Clemens’ duel with Gerwyn Price on New Year’s Day will be the eighth match involving black, red and gold. That also didn’t exist before, just like the high finish of 170 points. Schindler checked it in his win over Martin Lukeman, becoming the first player of the tournament.
The fact that Germany is already the big World Cup winner before the quarter-finals is also, and above all, due to the fans. More than ten percent of the tickets went to Germany in advance. Hundreds more were able to stock up on return tickets afterwards. Numbers as we knew them from before the pandemic. Figures that raised concerns.
Too often in the past the Germans had proved to be embarrassing guests. Football clubs and players were celebrated or denigrated, culminating in the foreign shame anthem of “driving to the World Cup without Holland” – at the Ally Pally darts World Cup this was as out of place and wrong as a glass of milk. BVB? Timo Werner? What was that? Even the English, never short of a diatribe themselves, wrinkled their noses.
This year, however, the Bavarian Lederhosen and Black Forest Bollenhuts didn’t turn out to be party-crackers – quite the opposite. The Germans were not only part of the party, they even became the driving force after Christmas. Quite impressive that those who then occasionally fell into old behavior patterns were simply drowned out or even verbally reprimanded. Bravo!
The majority of the German spectators voted and encouraged in the best sense of the word, often getting the other two-thirds of the 3,200 fans involved, and not just when German players were on the stage. Dirk van Duijvenbode, Mensur Suljovic, Josh Rock – many players benefited from the support from Germany. “What’s going on is a German siege,” said Hempel, who was not the only one who took part in the World Cup. With “Oh, how is that nice”, the fans also provided the appropriate acoustics for the sporting performances of their compatriots on the board. Supplemented by the even more appropriate addition: “It’s been a long time since you’ve seen anything like that!”
The many TV viewers at home must have come to exactly the same conclusion, which has meanwhile brought records to the broadcasting station “Sport1” every day. The German successes attracted new interested people. The most important thing: the first contacts were presented with examples of the fascination of darts.
Above all, Schindler and Clemens showed an audience of millions the entire spectrum of professional dart throwing: with all the drama, the countless twists and turns and simply great sport. Schindler’s 3:4 against Michael Smith and Clemens’ 4:3 win over Jim Williams were great entertainment and should have brought new spectators to the sport in Germany and, in the medium term, new players as well. After these experiences, who shouldn’t tune in again? Even.
New Year’s Day will show how much Clemens can increase the interest that has already increased with the historic quarter-finals. And hopefully this World Cup will also have consequences for the public. The World Cup has always served as a model for all other tournaments. On the European Tour or other majors, audiences adapt what they see and hear at Ally Pally. It copies disguises and songs and also takes over the player ratings of the fans in London: to cult van Barneveld and to boo Price as loudly as possible has long been folklore. Now there is legitimate hope that the self-cleaning processes of this World Cup will also take effect elsewhere and that a new etiquette will find its way into the halls.