Wednesday 22 February 2023

Changes I'd make if I was Matt Porter

I did one of these posts a while back, and I thought it's due a revision. Looking back, I did this just after the previous UK Open, for some reason I thought I did it a bit further back than that, but I guess not. Still, let's go, that post ( had ten, I don't know how many I'll go with, but we'll see - this is a post I was going to make anyway, but the PDC having announced a much greater offering for the UK Open, with EVERY game being streamed (what level of production we'll get on boards 3-8 is yet to be seen), it's one of the things I'd have liked, so what else would I do?


This is a redo from point number one of the previous post, but it still stands. If you want to keep using sportradar for feeding the bookies, that's fine - that doesn't mean you can't do what you do with the UK Open and relay the televised boards to Dart Connect afterwards. It would make stat compilation much easier, and having all the stats in one place would be of some use to the casual fan.


This is something I've touched on before back when the entirety of the PDC's sponsors were bookies - commenting on the natural fear that if governments were to crack down on gambling advertising (because personal responsibility isn't allowed these days), the PDC and Matchroom in general would be up shit creek. Now it's kind of the same issue, except that the worlds, Premier League, Slam, Euros, PC Finals, UK Open and Masters are all sponsored by Cazoo. I've made the comparison before, might have been on here, might have been on Twitter, I can't remember, but the last time I saw a company sponsoring so much stuff was Football Index, and we all know how that ended up. They've got a pretty wide array of secondary sponsors, surely one of them could take the step up and take on a big event?


This is another redo, but it's one that continues to make huge sense, and would prevent bye issues, points only being awarded from the last 32 etc - and this started happening in day one of the UK side with Jenkins only playing the one day on a weekend. Similar with issues of players playing the final day and actually being worse off as a result of doing so - this is a direct result of the points system combined with not having a full field of 128. Fix it. While we're at it, increase the number of straight passes in stage one to sixteen each day. With the fields the size they are, nobody who gets to that stage is not going to get in through points anyway, so why bother making them (or at least giving them the chance to) play it out?


The Riley's qualifiers are great, but there's a bit of a problem in that they're all distributed in England - whereas previously they were a bit more evenly spread out. Scotland in particular doesn't have any, while there's five within a stone's throw of London. Wales is also not represented, but at least the northern side could easily enough get to the Chester and Manchester events. I am guessing there is some reason why they can't hold one at the Aberdeen or Swansea venues, but if not, why not cut the spots down to six for each of the secondary tours, and then hold four separate qualifiers? How much interest would there be in holding a couple on the continent - one in Germany, one in the Netherlands perhaps? Maybe also, given that they kind of get fucked by not having had the opportunity to get a Challenge Tour spot, have a qualifier straight after Q-School for those players who immediately lost their tour card (and didn't regain it) to get a "goodbye" bonus and win through to the UK Open? It's been seen a few times that players have just gone and won a Riley's qualifier anyway, so why not keep more spots open for potential true amateurs?


For that Scottish event suggested above, could the PDC not have looked into tacking it onto the just-run Scottish Open, either straight before or after (on outside boards while they're playing the stage finals maybe)? For the initial European Tour associate qualifiers, could they not have worked around the Dutch Open, using side boards at the end of the Friday/Saturday? That one in particular makes sense given that any affiliate worth their salt would be at the venue anyway. You'll probably get a stronger affiliate field, you might help the hosting event in question, and it should theoretically save player's expenses.


Something I suggested in the previous post, which seemingly hasn't really been done, is that PDC.TV basically doesn't have anything of worth to viewers in regions where there is an established TV deal in place. So why not, as an experiment, organise an event which is available to watch ONLY on the stream worldwide for a one-off payment amount, which is then available for replay afterwards as you've got no TV production company holding back the rights for an extreme amount of time, if not ad infinitum? I wouldn't be suggesting an enormous prize pool, maybe just a European Tour tournament format event on steroids with a ~50% boost to prize money compared to one of those events. If they had a £250k prize pool compared to £175k on the Euro Tour, they'd only need to sell 50k passes at a fiver a pop to break even on the prize money assuming that sponsors wouldn't be interested, then live ticket/booze sales ought to get close to covering venue hire and their own production costs. I for one would quite easily pay into three figures a year direct to the PDC if I got all the events, including the ones Sky/ITV currently have exclusivity for. Why not start to work out whether there is the customer demand for this with a small step? If it doesn't work, it's not as if it's going to really break the bank.


Moving event five to the second weekend and having events 1-4 run across the same length of time would eliminate an awful lot the tournament/day length issues that are caused by the added number of players which naturally play the first set with the idea of hoping to run good and then maybe get into a Pro Tour callup spot and/or international players having made the trip for Q-School and other events then stopping around.

That I think is the lot for now without hugely repeating myself from a year ago. Check in tomorrow by around this time for initial Kiel thoughts.

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