BBC and ESPN will be screening over 60 hours of coverage from the 2012 Lakeside World Professional Darts Championships.
Now in 35th year, the British Darts Organisation’s premier tournament will feature 32 of its top players, including reigning three-time champion Martin Adams, 2011 runner-up Dean Winstanley, two-time winner Ted Hankey, and 2010 Grand Slam of Darts champion Scott Waites.
All the action throughout the nine days from the famous Lakeside Country Club will be shared between two broadcasters for the first time in the event’s history, after the BDO confirmed in November that the BBC would share coverage with subscription broadcaster ESPN.
The new arrangement marks the end of the corporation’s exclusive coverage that stretched back to the inaugural Championships in 1978.
While the BBC retain’s exclusive coverage of the final on January 15, the lion’s share of live action will be screened on ESPN.
The BBC has live coverage of the afternoon sessions on the opening weekend of 7-8 January, including the opening first round matches on Saturday, with ESPN showing the evening action.
From Monday to Friday, ESPN will screen all the evening sessions, including the second round and quarter final matches, exclusively live each night.
Extended highlights will be shown on BBC Two every afternoon throughout the week, and there will also be nightly highlights and Darts Extra programmes screened during the course of the week, which will also feature coverage of the women’s tournament.
On Saturday, January 14, the first semi final will be shown on BBC One, with the second semi final live on ESPN later in the day.
The final will be screened on BBC Two from 5.45pm, with highlights airing on ESPN later in the evening.
For the third straight year, Colin Murray will present the BBC’s coverage, and will be joined by two-time World Championship finalist Bobby George. Roving reports and interviews will come from Rob Walker.
Ray Stubbs, who presented the BBC’s coverage of the event for 11 consecutive years until 2009, will return to the Lakeside to host ESPN’s coverage, with Nat Coombs conducting interviews backstage.
Both broadcasters will share the same commentary feed, with the BDO’s ‘voice of darts’ Tony Green returning to commentate on his 34th World Championships, after missing last year’s tournament due to illness.
He will be joined by David Croft, who was recently confirmed as Sky Sports F1’s lead commentator, and Vassos Alexander.
All the BBC’s coverage will be available to watch via the BBC Sport website and on iPlayer.
Due to an FA Cup third round tie between Arsenal and Leeds United airing on the main ESPN channel on Monday, January 9, the darts will be shown on ESPN Classic (Sky 429), which is available to all Sky Sports subscribers.
UPDATE: Follow an online petition for either the BBC or ESPN to screen the ladies championship at the Lakeside, the Women’s BDO World Championship Final will be shown via the BBC Red Button on Friday evening.
The 2012 final sees England’s Deta Hedman face Russia’s Anastasia Dobromyslova, who claimed the title in 2008, and full coverage of the match (to be played over the best of three sets) can be seen on the Red Button, as well as the BBC Sport website, from 5pm.
Since 2005, every match from the Women’s World Championship had been shown on the BBC Red Button. But new rights holders ESPN has been criticised by fans for refusing to screen any of the women’s matches, as well as the opening match of each session between Monday and Wednesday from the men’s draw.
BDO World Championship 2012 – ScheduleFirst Round Saturday 7th January – Day 1 Afternoon Session Ron Meulenkamp (NED, 16) 0-3 Gary Stone (SCO) Martin Adams (ENG, 1) 3-0 Scott Mitchell (ENG) Tony O’Shea (ENG, 8) 3-0 Steve West (ENG) Ross Montgomery (SCO, 9) 3-1 Fabian Roosenbrand (NED) 2.30pm-4.30pm – BBC One 4.30pm-5.35pm – BBC Two Evening Session Robbie Green (ENG, 4) 3-1 Darryl Fitton (ENG) Gary Robson (ENG, 5) 0-3 Steve Douglas (ENG) 8pm-10pm – ESPN 11.30pm-12.20am – BBC Two (Highlights) 12.20am-2.20am – BBC Two (Darts Extra) Sunday 8th January – Day 2 Afternoon Session John Walton (ENG, 7) 1-3 Martin Atkins (ENG) Willy van de Wiel (NED, 10) 3-0 Dave Prins (ENG) Scott Waites (ENG, 2) 3-1 Andy Boulton (ENG) Paul Jennings (ENG, 12) 3-1 Garry Thompson (ENG) 1pm-4.45pm – BBC Two Evening Session Jan Dekker (NED, 6) 2-3 Christian Kist (NED) Ted Hankey (ENG, 15) 3-2 Clive Barden (ENG) Wesley Harms (NED, 13) 3-1 Martin Phillips (WAL) 6.30pm-10pm – ESPN 11.40pm-12.30am – BBC Two (Highlights) 12.30am-2.30am – BBC Two (Darts Extra) Monday 9th January – Day 3 Weekend Review – 12.30pm-3pm – BBC Two Tony West (ENG, 11) 1-3 Geert De Vos (BEL) Benito van de Pas (NED, 14) 2-3 Alan Norris (ENG) Dean Winstanley (ENG, 3) 3-1 Joey ten Berge (NED) 6.30pm-10pm – ESPN Classic 11.20pm-12.10am – BBC Two (Highlights) 1.10am-3.10am – BBC Two (Darts Extra) Tuesday 10th January – Day 4 Day 3 Review – 12.30pm-3pm – BBC Two Second Round Paul Jennings (ENG, 12) 4-2 Steve Douglas (ENG) Wesley Harms (NED, 13) 4-1 Robbie Green (ENG, 4) Gary Stone (SCO) 0-4 Martin Adams (ENG, 1) Ross Montgomery (SCO, 9) 1-4 Tony O’Shea (ENG, 8) 6.30pm-10pm – ESPN 11.20pm-12.10am – BBC Two (Highlights) 12.10am-2.10am – BBC Two (Darts Extra) Wednesday 11th January – Day 5 Day 4 Review – 1.30pm-3pm – BBC Two Willy van de Wiel (NED, 10) 2-4 Martin Atkins (ENG) Ted Hankey (ENG, 15) 4-3 Scott Waites (ENG, 2) Geert de Vos (BEL) 2-4 Christian Kist (NED) Alan Norris (ENG) 4-3 Dean Winstanley (ENG, 3) 6.30pm-10pm – ESPN 11.20pm-12.10am – BBC Two (Highlights) 12.10am-2.10am – BBC Two (Darts Extra) Thursday 12th January – Day 6 Day 5 Review – 12.30pm-3pm – BBC Two Quarter-Finals Paul Jennings (ENG, 12) 3-5 Wesley Harms (NED, 13) Martin Adams (ENG, 1) 2-5 Tony O’Shea (ENG, 8) 6.30pm-10pm – ESPN 11.20pm-12.10am – BBC Two (Highlights) 12.10am-2.10am – BBC Two (Darts Extra) Friday 13th January – Day 7 Day 6 Review – 12.30pm-3pm – BBC Two Women’s Final Deta Hedman (ENG, 1) 1-2 Anastasia Dobromyslova (RUS) 5pm-6pm – BBC Red Button Alan Norris (ENG) 1-5 Christian Kist (NED) Martin Atkins (ENG) 1-5 Ted Hankey (ENG, 15) 6.30pm-10pm – ESPN 11.05pm-11.55pm – BBC Two (Highlights) 11.55pm-1.55am – BBC Two (Darts Extra) Saturday 14th January – Day 8 Afternoon Session Ted Hankey (ENG) v Christian Kist (NED) 2.30pm-4.30pm – BBC One Evening Session Wesley Harms (NED, 13) v Tony O’Shea (ENG, 8) 5pm-8pm – ESPN 11.55pm-12.45am – BBC Two (Highlights) Sunday 15th January – Day 9 Lakeside World Professional Darts Championship Final 2012 5.45pm-8pm – BBC Two 10.30pm-12am – ESPN (Highlights) Tournament Format First Round – Best of 5 sets Second Round – Best of 7 sets Quarter Finals – Best of 9 sets Semi Finals – Best of 11 sets Final – Best of 13 sets Classic BDO World Championship Moments 1980 – Final – Eric Bristow v Bobby George 1983 – Final – Eric Bristow v Keith Deller 1990 – Second Round – Paul Lim v Jack McKenna Lim hits the World Championship’s first nine-dart finish 1992 – Final – Phil Taylor v Mike Gregory Sudden death leg drama 1999 – Final – Raymond Barneveld v Ronnie Baxter Barney claims back-to-back titles in a thrilling contest 2000 – Final – Ted Hankey v Ronnie Baxter The Count checks-out a 170 finish for the title 2003 – Semi Final – Raymond Barneveld v Mervyn King Both players leave themselves on 9-dart finishes in the same leg 2007 – Final – Martin Adams v Phill Nixon Wolfie almost blows it after leading 6-0! 2011 – Final – Martin Adams v Dean Winstanley Full replay Pictures courtesy of BBC Sport