The Premier League Darts campaign will finally get underway on Thursday, pitting eight of the best players in the world against each other in a bid to become champion.
Reigning champion Michael van Gerwen is looking to win his seventh title in nine years, but will face fierce competition from some up-and-coming stars, from World Champion and World No 1 Luke Humphries to teenage sensation Luke Littler.
With the campaign getting underway in Cardiff, it will tour Europe but mainly feature in England, until its conclusion at the O2 Arena on May 23.
With ticket sales more than doubling ahead of Littler’s debut, anticipation has never been higher and thousands will tune in to see who has the endurance to be crowned Premier League champion.
Here, Mail Sport has all the information you need to know ahead of the competition’s launch.
Premier League Darts will kick off on Thursday, headlined by teenage sensation Luke Littler
World Champion Luke Humphries will also be in action in his debut Premier League season
Who is taking part?
There, surprisingly, have been few complaints about the line-up for this year’s competition.
Rather than picking the competitors based solely on rankings, the PDC hand pick the stars based on form, achievements, and, seemingly, their draw.
Some of the inclusions are non-negotiable. World champion Luke Humphries will finally make his Premier League debut having controversially been left out last term, and will be among the favourites to continue his fine form in the sport in 2024.
Reigning champion Michael van Gerwen walks in, as does last year’s runner-up, Wales’ Gerwyn Price. 2023 semi-finalist and world champion Michael Smith is in, though Johnny Clayton, who won the competition in 2021 and reached the final four last year, misses out.
2018 world champion Rob Cross is back in, while Nathan Aspinall retains his place from last year alongside, somewhat controversially, Peter Wright.
And then there’s the poster boy, Luke Littler. Despite a world ranking of 31, the 17-year-old sensation was called up to the Premier League on the back of his performance at the World Championship and will make his debut this week.
He has backed-up the call-up by winning the Bahrain Darts Masters and hitting a nine-darter in his first tournament afterwards, before coming second in the Dutch Darts Masters.
Littler and Humphries are both among the favourites to lift the Premier League trophy in May
Defending champion Michael ven Gerwen, however, is looking to lift his seventh Premier League title in nine years
The Premier League has run since 2005, and traditionally had 10 players competing for the title, each with a fixture a night, earning two points for a win, one for a draw and zero for a loss in a best-of-12 game.
In 2022, however, the format changed and mini-tournaments came into play, with eight players starting in the quarter-finals and progressing and earning more points as the night goes on.
Rather than five games a night, there are now seven, with the winner picking up five points in the league table.
The runner-up earns three points, the semi-finalists earn two each and the four players that lose in the first round get zero for the night.
The top four players in the league table come night 17 will qualify for the semi-finals, with first playing fourth and second third. The two winners will then face off in the final, with the final three matches to be played on a finals night at the O2 arena.
The two semi-finals are best-of 19, and the final best-of 21.
The tournament format now involves a knockout format on each night, with players receiving points based on how far they get – pictured, Gerwyn Price
The winner of each night will pick up five points, with the runner-up three and semi-finalists two – pictured, Michael Smith
The total prize money for the tournament is a total of £1million, the same as last year’s competition.
The winner of each night will receive £10,000, while players will earn more the higher up they finish in the event.
The winner will pick up £275,000, while second place will have to settle for less than half and £125,000.
The losing semi-finalists will be paid £85,000, while fifth place to last will pick up an extra £5,000 for each position they climb.
Fifth will earn £75,000 overall, sixth £70,000, seventh £65,000 and eighth £60,000.
The winner of the whole competition in mid-May will receive a prize of £275,000 – pictured, Peter Wright (left) and Rob Cross (right)
Venues and fixtures
Premier League Darts will take place at a number of venues across six different counties, from Wales, to Germany, to England, to Ireland, to Scotland, to the Netherlands.
The draw for the quarter-finals of every week bar weeks eight and 16 have been confirmed already, with Littler to take on Humphries in his debut game in Cardiff.
Night One – Utilita Arena, Cardiff, Thursday February 1
Peter Wright v Rob Cross
Gerwyn Price v Nathan Aspinall
Michael van Gerwen v Michael Smith
Luke Littler v Luke Humphries
Night Two – Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin Thursday February 8
Nathan Aspinall v Michael van Gerwen
Michael Smith v Gerwyn Price
Luke Littler v Rob Cross
Luke Humphries v Peter Wright
Night Three – OVO Hydro, Glasgow, Thursday February 15
Rob Cross v Michael Smith
Michael van Gerwen v Peter Wright
Nathan Aspinall v Luke Humphries
Gerwyn Price v Luke Littler
Nathan Aspinall will be looking to improve on his fifth-place finish in the 2022 edition of the Premier League
Night Four – Utilita Arena, Newcastle, Thursday February 22
Michael Smith v Nathan Aspinall
Rob Cross v Luke Humphries
Peter Wright v Luke Littler
Gerwyn Price v Michael van Gerwen
Night Five – Westpoint Exeter, Thursday February 29
Luke Humphries v Michael van Gerwen
Nathan Aspinall v Peter Wright
Gerwyn Price v Rob Cross
Luke Littler v Michael Smith
Night Six – The Brighton Centre, Thursday March 7
Luke Humphries v Gerwyn Price
Rob Cross v Michael van Gerwen
Nathan Aspinall v Luke Littler
Michael Smith v Peter Wright
Night Seven – Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham, Thursday March 14
Peter Wright v Gerwyn Price
Luke Humphries v Michael Smith
Michael van Gerwen v Luke Littler
Rob Cross v Nathan Aspinall
Night Eight – 3Arena, Dublin, Thursday March 21
Fixtures confirmed following Night Seven
Littler will take on Humphries on opening night in a rematch of the World Championship final
Humphries will be looking to build on his success from 2024 as he enters the competition as World No 1
Night Nine – SSE Arena, Belfast, Thursday March 28
Luke Humphries v Luke Littler
Michael Smith v Michael van Gerwen
Nathan Aspinall v Gerwyn Price
Rob Cross v Peter Wright
Night 10 – AO Arena, Manchester, Thursday April 4
Nathan Aspinall v Rob Cross
Luke Littler v Michael van Gerwen
Michael Smith v Luke Humphries
Gerwyn Price v Peter Wright
Night 11 – Utilita Arena, Birmingham, Thursday April 11
Peter Wright v Luke Humphries
Rob Cross v Luke Littler
Gerwyn Price v Michael Smith
Michael van Gerwen v Nathan Aspinall
Night 12 – Rotterdam Ahoy, Thursday April 18
Michael Smith v Luke Littler
Rob Cross v Gerwyn Price
Peter Wright v Nathan Aspinall
Michael van Gerwen v Luke Humphries
Van Gerwen will hope to be in the mix for qualification for a semi-final spot when the Premier League rolls round to Rotterdam
Fans in the Netherlands regularly dress in all orange to get behind home favourite Van Gerwen
Night 13 – M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool, Thursday April 25
Luke Littler v Gerwyn Price
Luke Humphries v Nathan Aspinall
Peter Wright v Michael van Gerwen
Michael Smith v Rob Cross
Night 14 – P&J Live, Aberdeen, Thursday May 2
Peter Wright v Michael Smith
Luke Littler v Nathan Aspinall
Michael van Gerwen v Rob Cross
Gerwyn Price v Luke Humphries
Gary Anderson hasn’t been selected, meaning Scotland won’t have a home favourite to cheer on in Aberdeen
Night 15 – First Direct Arena, Leeds, Thursday May 9
Michael van Gerwen v Gerwyn Price
Luke Littler v Peter Wright
Luke Humphries v Rob Cross
Nathan Aspinall v Michael Smith
Night 16 – Utilita Arena, Sheffield, Thursday May 16
Fixtures confirmed following Night 15