Darts is a game that almost every Canadian has played at some point, whether it be in their parents’ basement or at the local pub. However, in Europe, darts is a serious business, and the World Championships are currently underway.
This year, three Canadians are participating in the tournament, which has sparked hope that the sport may regain some popularity in Canada.
Clay Birse, the vice president of the Calgary Pub Darts Association, believes that the sport has declined in popularity in Canada.
“It’s just fewer teams so you don’t have as big of pools,” said Birse. “So you’re not hosting as big of tournaments and you’re not bringing in the same kind of money and memberships that you had from before.”
Birse adds that pubs and bars have swapped darts boards for video lottery terminals and pool tables, and the electronic soft-tip version of the game, which is popular in Asia and the United States, has not gained traction in Canada.
Despite the decline in popularity, there is hope at the professional level.
David Cameron, a Nova Scotia native participating in his first World Championship, believes that Canada is making its mark in the sport at the professional level.
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However, he acknowledges that it can be a struggle to reach that level while playing in North America.
“Our country is so big and so is the United States,” said Cameron. “It’s so spread out for us and there’s a difficulty when it comes to traveling [for tournaments].”
Both Cameron and Birse hope the Canadian representation at the highest level of the sport will lead to more players picking up the game.
“If the big guys can pull out a couple of wins and win a couple of tournaments, it would definitely turn some focus on to it, but you still need everybody to be interested in actually throwing the darts for themselves.”
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