A Yorkshire businessman has ploughed more than £150,000 into a new venture aimed at changing the face of competitive darts.
Scott Newhouse, of Rotherham, has established BDO Events, the commercial partner of the British Darts Organisation (BDO), which is to introduce a new international competition to Blackpool Tower next month.
The first BDO World Trophy will take place at the tower from February 4-9 and will see amateurs and professionals competing for the title and the £115,000 prize pot – the second largest in the darts calendar.
BDO Events was born out of a chance meeting with BDO director Alan Marshall and several follow-up meetings with BDO committee members.
Mr Newhouse, a non-darts player, said: “After all the meetings I had the confidence to see the commercial opportunities and how I could move forward with the BDO and bring a little razzmatazz to the darts calendar at the same time.
“I know it sounds strange that someone who can’t even play the game should invest in a new tournament but, besides the business opportunity, I also decided I wanted to enhance the player and fan experience.
“With the line-up of players already confirmed and with the stunning setting of the tower ballroom, we really have a true festival of darts.”
He added: “The launch of this new competition and the sizeable prize fund is the right direction for the BDO, which will see men and women competing for this new title in the first of what is going to be an exciting year of new tournaments in the darts world”
The World Trophy is the first in a year-long programme for BDO Events culminating in the Super Series in July.
More than 1,000 players from all over the world are expected to take part in the six-day event, which will be watched by up to 10,000 fans.
The winner of the World Trophy will qualify for immediate entry into the playoffs at the Winmau Word Masters and the Lakeside World Championships in 2015.
BDO Events has a five-year plan to bring about change and has already secured Blackpool Tower for the five years for the World Trophy and the Super Series final.
It also has rights for the Cyprus Challenge (to be the official Open next year), Turkish Open, Romanian Open, The European Cup 2014 in Budapest and Romania and The World Cup Turkey, Belek in 2015.
Last year, Mr Newhouse organised British Classic at the Magna Centre in Rotherham, which attracted more than 1,200 players and 650 spectators.
Mr Newhouse is the founder of renewable energy firm Wind and Solar Systems, which has carried out a number of projects in South Yorkshire, and recently secured funding for a £23m solar development project in Shropshire, which started construction last month.