Could India Be a Darts-Mad Nation?

January 14, 2022

India has sports that are synonymous with the country. Cricket is at the top of the list, hence why the BCCI and IPL are two of the biggest organizations in the world. Then there’s hockey and soccer, both of which are hugely popular.
Darts doesn’t really suit the customs of the subcontinent. It’s an old-fashioned British pastime linked to the West. But India is surprising. After all, few people know that badminton and swimming have the second and third-highest participation rates among Indians. Darts could follow suit if a few things went its way.

An Indian Superstar

Sporting stars help Indians to invest because they love to get behind their people. Darts, if its popularity increases, will be no different. What the nation needs is a role model, but the World Championship darts betting odds point out that one isn’t forthcoming. Nitin Kumar is an Indian dart player, yet most darts betting tips wouldn’t encourage you to wager money on him to win the tournament at +10000.

Considering the likes of Gerwyn Price and Michael van Gerwen, heavyweights of the sport, are ranked at +400 and +45- respectively shows how big a task it is for someone like Kumar. The thing is, he wouldn’t have to make it to the final or win the entire competition to secure a following from Indians around the world.

Due to his comparative skill level, a couple of exciting matches in the mid-rounds of the World Championships should be enough to garner attention at home. All the people want is someone to get behind, and if Kumar can do that, awareness of him and the sport will boom.

Local(ish) Events

As India isn’t a hot spot for darts, the darting world has taken little interest in the subcontinent. It’s a shame seeing as they share features that may make them compatible. For example, darts is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world, while India is one of the fastest-growing nations. What could kickstart the love affair is semi-local tournaments.

In Asia, Japan, South Korea, and The Philippines are very into the game, which encouraged the PDC to create the Asian Tour of Merit for players in the locale. While it’s not well-known, it has produced people who have shocked the world at the Darts World Championships, including Edward Foulkes from Japan.

Kumar is the only Indian player on the list, showcasing the strength of the sport in Southeast and East Asia. However, the likes of Lourence Ilagan, who is top of the Order, still have odds of +5000, meaning there isn’t much disparity between him and the likes of Kumar. By developing more events where the standard isn’t as high, Indian darters would be less out of their depth and more likely to develop. A trans-Asian relationship seems obvious considering the demand for darts in nearby countries.

A Helping Hand

Since 2018, the PDC has set aside a spot for an Indian qualifier to join the ranks of the fellow 96 people who aim for darting immortality every winter. It’s an excellent start, but more needs to be done if Indians are going to take the sport seriously. Why not have two of three Indians guaranteed places in the first round?

Right now, Nitin Kumar is dominant to the point where he qualifies regularly. As a result, new and upcoming players who Indians might want to watch because they bring freshness aren’t receiving their opportunities. And the other tournaments provide no such guarantees to players from the subcontinent.

So, if the PDC and Eddie Hearn are intent on taking advantage of a wide-open market, they must act on their words. Offering Indians additional help, whether it’s financially or merit-based, is an area to analyze.

If there is a superstar from the county and regular, competitive events in Asia to complement positive changes for Indians, there’s no reason the sport wouldn’t benefit from increased popularity in the subcontinent.

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