Darts World Series to return to Auckland

Adrian Lewis wins against Phil Taylor in the Auckland Dart Masters, semi-final at Trusts Arena on Sunday night. 30 August 2015. New Zealand Herald photograph by Nick Reed
Adrian Lewis wins against Phil Taylor in the Auckland Dart Masters, semi-final at Trusts Arena on Sunday night. 30 August 2015. New Zealand Herald photograph by Nick Reed

The world's top darts players will return this year after the Professional Darts Corporation locked in Auckland for a round of the World Series, and talks are underway about a multi-year deal.

Last year's inaugural event was a success, with large and vocal crowds flocking to Henderson's Trusts Arena, and a repeat is expected this time around when it's staged here on June 17-19.

PDC boss Matt Porter said the bulk of top names synonymous with the sport will be brought to New Zealand.

"You'll see all the top names," he told Radio Sport. "We'll be bringing over eight of the top PDC players, including Gary Anderson the world champion, Phil Taylor, Michael van Gerwen, Adrian Lewis - all the guys that people know so well now."

There will also be a chance for eight local qualifiers, so New Zealand's top players such as Rob Szabo and Koha Kokiri will get a chance to again test themselves at the highest level.

Porter says discussions are progressing over signing a multi-year deal involving the circuit coming to Auckland.

"Whilst we're keen to make it a long-term thing, we haven't got down to negotiating the nitty gritties of a long-term deal. I don't see any reason why it would be a one-off to return, because it was so well received by the fans and TV audience. It would be daft not to consider Auckland as a long-term fixture on our calendar.

"We're not unduly worried about contracts and things like that. We've got friends, we've got handshakes and we know where we're wanted and where we want to be, so Auckland will be somewhere we'll be making a permanent fixture I'm sure."

Lewis is the defending champion for the event, after beating Dutchman Raymond van Barneveld in last year's final.

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