Leeds First Direct Arena to host Premier darts opening night extravaganza

Michael Van Gerwen at the First Direct Arena.

Michael Van Gerwen at the First Direct Arena.

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LEEDS’ First Direct Arena is to host the opening night of darts’ 2015 Betway Premier League, the Yorkshire Evening Post can reveal.

The prestigious tournament will kick-off in Leeds on Thursday, February 5, following the runaway success of the sport’s inaugural visit to the venue earlier this year.

That occasion was attended by 11,000 fans – the highest figure for any event in the history of the Professional Darts Corporation.

PDC chairman Barry Hearn admitted he was “super-impressed” by the First Direct Arena, while two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis described himself as “gobsmacked” by the response of the huge crowd.

“Our visit to the First Direct Arena in March was a memorable occasion for all the players and also a historic night in the history of the PDC and it seems fitting that we’ll begin next year’s Betway Premier League at such a wonderful venue,” said Hearn.

“We had an amazing response from darts fans across the north who travelled to Leeds for what was a special night and they were treated to some brilliant darts.

“It would be tremendous if we can open the 2015 Premier League season, as we celebrate 10 years of the tournament, by welcoming another record crowd to the First Direct Arena.”

Premier League Darts features the top four players in the world rankings following the World Championship – which ends on January 4 – and six wildcard selections, who will be headed by current Premier League champion Raymond van Barneveld.

Taylor, the 16-time World Champion and six-time Premier League winner, said: “It’s great news that Leeds will open next year’s season.

“I played Wes Newton there back in March and I remember that we both fed off the atmosphere – it was the best night of the season as far as I’m concerned and I can’t wait to get back there.

“Winning back the Premier League next year will be a massive target of mine and it would be great to start with a bang in Leeds.”

The 16-week tournament concludes in May, with a finals night at London’s O2 arena.

Tickets for the Betway Premier League Darts will go on general sale on Monday, October 6 from the First Direct Arena on 0844 248 1585 or www.firstdirectarena.com

For information about the priority sales period from Monday, September 29, visit www.pdc.tv/tickets

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