It may be an extremely niche sport in the United States, but darts is extremely popular in the United Kingdom. Since 2014, U.K. pay TV sports behemoth Sky Sports rebrands one of its many channels as “Sky Sports Darts” for the two-week William Hill World Darts Championship that runs in December through the New Year. It’s a rather popular event across the pond, and ESPN3 streamed last year’s Championship here in the U.S.
In fact, when ESPN rebranded ESPNU as ESPN The Ocho back on August 8, it re-aired the finals of the 2017 World Darts Championship. But for the upcoming 2018 Championship, BBC America, a network that’s best known for airing Doctor Who, Orphan Black and Top Gear, will air the event on television, starting on December 16:
— BBC America (@BBCAMERICA) November 27, 2017
While BBC America won’t be televising the event every day like Sky Sports will, it gives fans in the U.S. an opportunity to watch the World Championships on television.
Eleven Sports has aired a series of darts competitions this year from the Professional Darts Corporation, produced by Sky Sports. And FS1 also aired a competition from Las Vegas earlier this year. While they may not have gotten a mass audience, just seeing the atmosphere especially at the PDC events can be rather infectious.
Now if you’re going to be watching darts for the first time in December, you’ll going to see some rather interesting moments. That includes the crowd chanting “Hey! Hey! Hey!” when Sky Sports’ darts theme (yes, there’s a theme tune) “Chase the Sun” is played as the action goes to break:
There are a couple of iconic sports themes in the U.K., Sky Sports darts and BBC’s Match of the Day.
Just as in boxing, MMA and wrestling, there are walk ons complete with music and women:
Also, when there’s a score of 180 thrown during a certain sequence, the referee yells “180!” and it gets the crowd riled up:
If you haven’t watched darts, give BBC America a try starting on December 16. You’re certainly going to see something different than your average American sporting event. Perhaps BBC America will tap into something, and perhaps it can reach the popularity of cornhole.