Robbie King in action at the International Pro Darts Showdown Series in Brisbane.
Robbie King in action at the International Pro Darts Showdown Series in Brisbane.

Pro Darts Series a blueprint for international success

INTERNATIONAL darts stars Devon Petersen and John Kuczynski say they will be using the blueprint of the highly successful inaugural International Pro Darts Showdown Series to attempt to get a similar tournament off and running in their own countries.

South African No.1 Petersen and Kuczynski, the United States' best player, said the News Corp-backed series, which has been to Brisbane, Gold Coast and is this week in Townsville and Mackay, had been a wonderful experience and would be something they would definitely like to see back home.

"I went to New Zealand last year which was a massive cultural eye opener and this year I have been blessed to come on the Pro Darts Series with legends such as Phil Taylor, Andy Hamilton, Kyle Anderson and John Kuczynski all put together in one tournament all put together over four events which is massive," Petersen said.

"The ripple effect will stand us in good stead because this will kick off the series in the years to come and to be part of the inaugural event is monumental, not just for me but for South Africans coming through in the future."

The crowd enjoy the action at the International Pro Darts Showdown Series in Brisbane.
The crowd enjoy the action at the International Pro Darts Showdown Series in Brisbane.

Petersen was hoping that the success of the Pro Darts Series could prove to organisers back in South Africa that they too could cash in on the popularity of darts.

"Whether it be a local partnership or an international partnership, there are 11,000 players in South Africa and surrounding countries, so we definitely have the platform," he said.

"It's not even years away. I think we feel we are 12-18 months away from predominantly launching the African Darts Corporation and we can go from there.

"We have got the fundimentals to emulate this in South Africa."

Petersen said he would definitely return if asked to take part in any future Pro Darts Series.

"There are really no negatives you can take away from Australia," he said.

"The companies who have backed the series have just been amazing and catered to our every needs, so if I got the invite again I would rip their arm off."

Darts legend Phil Taylor is on his farewell tour.
Darts legend Phil Taylor is on his farewell tour.

Kuczynski, whose nickname on the circuit is Johnny K, also said he would not hesitate to return and said the people in the US would also embrace a similar tour.

"Darts is definitely as big (as in Australia) it's just spread out," he said.

"It's such a huge country. To travel from state to state tournaments is hard for us financially.

"The Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) is back in the US,

"That is a huge step in the right direction for us.

"We struggled to fill seats at tournaments because people wanted to play not watch.

"But that has changed now and the PDC being there is huge for the US."

Robbie King. Photo: Richard Gosling
Robbie King. Photo: Richard Gosling

Kuczynski, who is teaming up with Petersen to get Phoenix Darts (the soft-tipped darts game) into South Africa, said he was hoping to get a lot out of the Pro Darts Series after not being on the PDC tour for a few years.

"Me being here gives me a little bit of power to talk to sponsors and the like to say 'why can't we do something like this to boost it for the US as well'," he said.

"It opens the eyes of the public to say, 'you know what, I can do this' because a lot of people just don't go because it's too far, too much money and even though they are just as talented as the pro, they won't go."

Kuczynski said to have companies such as News Corp back events such as the Pro Darts Series was huge for the game and hoped that in the future something could take off in America.

"That would be awesome," Kuczynski said of possible future collaborations.

"I have spoken to Mark (Mark Algie, director events and custom media for News Corp) and hopefully we can have a longer conversation before the end of this trip because he is very supportive of the darts.

"Like Devon said, they have been great to us here, they really have taken good care of us and they seem to really care.

"It's not just a money thing. I think they really feel good about the darts obviously there is always a business end to things but you can see the difference in some people whether they really care about the sport or whether they are just looking to make money and I think the companies who we have been working with here, they really do care about the darts which is very important to me and to the players."