The World Darts Championship could move away from Alexandra Palace with Barry Hearn admitting a switch of venue is "under discussion" due to the impact of Luke Littler.

The teenager has taken the sport by storm, coming onto the scene at Ally Pally back in December en route to the final of the tournament. Littler has since gone on to further heights, landing silverware and putting darts on the map for a new audience.

It means demands for tickets has skyrocketed and the new Premier League champion has forced darts' bosses into a rethink with Hearn, like he has in recent discussions with snooker and the Crucible, citing the need for a new venue due to the potential of ticket sales.

He told PA: “Do we need to move to a bigger venue? The bigger hall at Ally Pally needs a lot of work done to it but it could handle 6,000 people per session. So there is the potential. But the other side of it is the game of darts around the world is getting so huge I actually need to make the World Championship longer.

“If I have got eight extra sessions I have got 25,000 more tickets to sell. But inevitably in the end we are going to be looking at what we are going to do. It is one step at a time, I am not a gambler, but sometimes you get a curveball like Luke Littler and you have to rethink your strategy.

“We reckon we could sell 250,000 tickets for the World Championship and they wouldn’t fit in the Ally Pally. It’s one step at a time, we are looking at the big hall but it needs a lot of work done. We are keeping our options open because we have learned with Luke Littler that you sometimes can’t see what is coming."

Ally Pally has hosted the iconic tournament since 2008 and is considered the home of the sport, but the 3,200-capacity venue is limited and tickets sell out in July before even hitting general sale.

Hearn has compared Littler to Tiger Woods, who took golf to new heights, with the Manchester United fan now capturing new audiences. The promoter believes Littler is the "gift that keeps on giving” with the sport set for new found fame.

“This is going to a level we have not come across before,” added Hearn. “Darts is a massive business, but we have gone to another level in the stratosphere. It’s not a massive surprise but it’s the best 2024 present I could have asked for.

“I have had broadcasters around the world queuing up, sponsors wanting to see what’s available, reports from future events selling out. Rather than it peter out, it is gaining momentum. I call it now the Luke Littler effect, the gift that keeps on giving."

2024-05-29T10:54:25Z dg43tfdfdgfd