It’s December, and that means it’s time for the annual William Hill World Darts Championship. BBC America will be airing the WDC once again this year after beginning its darts journey last year. The network aired the live finals on New Year’s Day, giving the network some counterprogramming to the NHL Winter Classic on NBC and the College Football Playoff semifinals on ESPN the same day.
Now, BBC America is once again going all in for the event, which normally airs on Sky Sports in the UK and is broadcast all over the world on various networks. The World Darts Championships start in mid-December at the Alexandra Palace in London (affectionately known as the “Ally Pally”), and BBC America will be live streaming the preliminary matches every day starting at 9 a.m. ET and then airing the Finals live on TV on January 1.
For BBC America, this a way to find a niche for a sport that holds cult status in the United States and to give itself some live content as an alternative to its regular programming of Dr. Who, Planet Earth, and Star Trek: The Next Generation.
BBC America executive director Courtney Thomasma tells Sports Business Journal that airing darts was “a natural fit given its prominence in the U.K.”
SBJ reports that the World Darts Championship, which is run by the Professional Darts Corporation, hopes to sign a deal with YouTube to stream matches as well.
BBC America is betting that darts will again give it a good number as it goes against the NHL and college football on New Year’s Day. It certainly will give it a good lead-in with a new Doctor Who episode. Live sports have proven to be a way to stand out from scripted programming and BBC America certainly has one sport that it hopes will become its signature event for years to come.