Bullseye! Phil Taylor on his way
Darts legend coming to InvercargillLOGAN SAVORY
World darts cult figure Phil "The Power" Taylor is coming to Invercargill.
The city will host one of the four legs in the new Australasian King of Darts series in January. Three legs will be held in different Australian cities, while ILT Stadium Southland will host New Zealand's only leg.
Taylor - who has amassed a staggering $12m prizemoney during his career - will headline the $110,000 Australasian series.
The Englishman has dominated the sport during the past decade although is currently ranked No 2 in the world. Fellow countryman, world No 3 Adrian Lewis, will also be a star attraction in Invercargill.
DartPlayers Australia chief executive Rob Denny said to lock in the superstar of the sport, Phil Taylor, was a major boost for the series.
"He obviously can demand some pretty big appearance money. He can turn down three of four appearances a week he is in that much demand," Denny said.
"He is treating this as a bit of a working holiday. We are going to make sure he gets a good look around and he enjoys the visit so he can go back and tell others how good it was."
Professional darts has developed a big following in the United Kingdom.
The rise in popularity has in some way been attributed to the party-like atmosphere at venues.
Denny said he wants to bring that party to Invercargill and would encourage spectators to adopt the fancy dress theme for the two-day party.
The organisation originally looked at Christchurch to hold New Zealand's only leg of the series, but Denny changed his mind after inspecting ILT Stadium Southland.
"There is nothing like this stadium, even in Australia. It has everything we need and will be great for darts," Denny said.
Denny was in Invercargill at the weekend to continue talks with various people.
He said on top of the state-of-the-art stadium, help from the Invercargill Licensing Trust in various areas, including accommodation for players, was another major reason why Invercargill was chosen.
With the first year set in place he hoped they could strike a three-to five-year deal with stadium officials to ensure the darts tournament become an annual event .
Organisers are hoping for a crowd of about 3000. Tickets will start from about $25 each and will go on sale next month.
"We are not coming here to try to make loads of money; we just want to try to start to make a footprint for live professional darts in New Zealand," Denny said.
The rest of the field will be made up of top Australian players and South and North Island champions.
- The Southland Times
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