Sports

Record crowd witnesses Littler’s triumph at The O2

Featured Image: Ank Kumar/CC BY-SA 4.0

Luke Littler produced a nine-dart finish to defeat Luke Humphries 11-7 and win the Premier League Darts title on what was a record-breaking night at The O2 Arena.

The 17-year-old was playing in his debut campaign and was the youngest player to ever feature in the event.

He took victory in front of 14,000 fans in London on Thursday, which marked the biggest UK crowd in Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) history.

Littler lost to Humphries in January’s World Championship showpiece but got revenge with an average of 105.60 in the final to seal what is the biggest title of his career so far.

“I’m a major winner! It feels incredible,” said Littler.

“It’s so good to win in front of my family. I was saying to Luke, I didn’t know what to do after I won!

“There were people doubting me when I was selected, but now I’ve picked up the trophy. They’re not doubting me anymore!

“I have been practising really hard today. I was so focused, and I’m just so happy to add my name to the list of major winners.”

Darts is experiencing a surge in popularity, somewhat thanks to Littler’s rise, and has been drawing record crowds.

This year’s Premier League, which began in Cardiff on February 1 and has visited arenas across the UK, Ireland, Germany, and the Netherlands, has attracted more than 150,000 fans. This is the highest number since the Premier League’s inception in 2005.

“The BetMGM Premier League season has experienced record interest from fans attending, watching through Sky Sports and our global broadcast partners and media, and we’re all excited for Thursday’s Play-Offs between four wonderful players,” said PDC chief executive Matt Porter.

“We’ve seen an upward curve in the popularity of darts since emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic, but recent months have been a huge acceleration of interest globally.”