ESPN will broadcast live and exclusive coverage of the European Darts Championship as the top players in Europe compete in Germany this September.
Viewers will be able to watch live action from each day of the tournament as ESPN and the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) team up for the first time to broadcast a major darts event.
Ray Stubbs will present ESPN’s live coverage on-site from RWE Sporthalle in Mulheim, Germany, with Stuart Pyke, Jim Proudfoot, Rob McCaffrey and three-time world champion John Part in the commentary box.
The £200,000 championship will see 32 players battling across four days of knockout action, and will feature darts’ most decorated player, 15-time World Champion Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor, who has won all four European Championship titles since the event’s inception in 2008.
Other players lined up to compete include double PDC World Champion Adrian Lewis – the runner-up to Taylor in last year’s European Championship – and world number three James Wade – the youngest ever winner of the World Matchplay – as well as the Dutch five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld, Australian favourite Simon Whitlock and many top talents from across Europe.
The full 32-player field will be confirmed following next month’s European Tour event in Stuttgart, with the top 16 players from the PDC Order of Merit joined by eight qualifiers from the ProTour Order of Merit and eight qualifiers from the European Order of Merit.
Jeroen Oerlemans, vice-president of ESPN Europe, said: “We’re delighted to add more top class darts to ESPN’s great sporting line-up.
“Our live and exclusive coverage of the European Darts Championship will bring viewers some of the best players in the world competing for one of the most prestigious trophies in darts.
“We’ll continue to look to add more darts programming as we expand and solidify the range of our programming.”
PDC Chairman Barry Hearn said: “The PartyPoker.net European Darts Championship has established itself as one of our most exciting and colourful events over the past four years, and it is a pleasure to welcome ESPN as our broadcast partner for the 2012 event.
“Last year, we saw the emergence of Kim Huybrechts as he took part in a major PDC event for the first time as well as a thrilling nine-darter by Adrian Lewis and his great final with Phil Taylor, and I’m sure that September’s tournament will be equally memorable for the fans in Germany and viewers on ESPN.”
The championship will begin on Thursday September 20, with the first round split across Thursday and Friday nights, and the second round being played in two sessions on Saturday September 22.
The Quarter-Finals will take place in the afternoon session of Sunday September 23, with the Semi-Finals and Final being played in one dramatic deciding session that evening, when the destiny of the £50,000 first prize will be discovered.
ESPN becomes the latest broadcast partner of the PDC, with the majority of their tournaments shown on Sky Sports.
The European Darts Championship was shown by ITV in 2008 (its inaugural tournament) and again in 2011, with the now-defunct Bravo channel broadcast the 2010 tournament.
ITV4 will screen the PDC Players Championship to be held in Minehead later this year.
.PartyPoker.net European Darts Championship 2012 LIVE on ESPN Thursday 20th September Round 1 Jerry Hendriks 6-2 Mensur Suljovic Mark Webster 4-6 Andree Welge Justin Pipe 3-6 Brendan Dolan Andy Hamilton 6-0 Paul Nicholson Wes Newton 6-0 Tomas Seyler Phil Taylor 6-3 Magnus Caris Mervyn King 4-6 Kevin Painter Ronnie Baxter 6-1 Michael Rosenauer LIVE – 7pm-11pm – ESPN Classic Friday 21st September Round 1 Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Andy Smith Richie Burnett 6-3 Co Stompe Dave Chisnall 6-3 Gino Vos Simon Whitlock 6-2 Mark Walsh James Wade 3-6 Colin Lloyd Adrian Lewis 0-6 Ian White Terry Jenkins 1-6 Raymond van Barneveld Kim Huybrechts 6-4 Vincent van der Voort LIVE – 7pm-11pm – ESPN Saturday 22nd September Last 16 Andre Welge 5-10 Brendan Dolan Andy Hamilton 10-8 Ronnie Baxter Wes Newton 10-5 Kevin Painter Phil Taylor 10-7 Jerry Hendricks LIVE – 1pm-5pm – ESPN Last 16 Simon Whitlock 10-5 Dave Chisnall Raymond van Barneveld 10-9 Michael van Gerwen Ian White 5-10 Kim Huybrechts Colin Lloyd 10-8 Richie Burnett LIVE – 7pm-11pm – ESPN Classic Sunday 23rd September Quarter Finals Andy Hamilton v Wes Newton Phil Taylor v Brendan Dolan Kim Huybrechts v Raymond van Barneveld Simon Whitlock v Colin Lloyd LIVE – 1pm-5pm – ESPN Semi Finals Taylor/Dolan v Hamilton/Newton Huybrechts/van Barneveld v Whitlock/Lloyd Final – 9.30pm approx LIVE – 7pm-11pm – ESPN