FESTIVAL DATE - 9th to 12th March 2017

Introduction

2017 Poker Stars Isle of Man International Festival of Darts

The 32nd Isle of Man Darts Festival

The Isle of Man darts festival is undoubtedly one of the most iconic, eagerly anticipated and best attended events in the BDO calendar. For three decades hundreds of darts enthusiasts have been flocking to the island not just to participate, not just lured by the guarantee of over £30,000 in prize money, but almost uniquely, just to be a part what many consider to be the biggest 'party event' of the year.

Okay it is fair to say that the main singles event, one of the most prestigious  titles in BDO darts has been won by a couple of fairly decent players over the years, including the likes of Gary Anderson, Dave Chisnall, Ted Hankey, Scott Waites, Dennis Harbour, Steve Bunting, Robbie Green, Darryl Fitton not to mention a certain Phil Taylor whoever he is, but for hundreds of enthusiasts who make the pilgrimage every year, though obviously really important, it's not just about winning, it's also about having a great time, about having a few days away with your mates, or in many cases with your whole darts team.

In that respect the IOM darts event is a bit like the darting equivalent of the Cheltenham racing festival, where so many of those who go year after year actually book the following year before they even leave the one they're at.

Obviously for 2016, we the EDO are the events new organisers. Following a very lengthy and in depth tendering process we are honoured that the IOM Government have entrusted us with the responsibility of moving the Festival forward in the years ahead, and we will be working very closely with the Department of Economic Development, Tourism Events’ to ensure everybody enjoys themselves as much, and if possible even more than they have always done previously.

At this stage it would be totally remiss of us, if we were not to publicly acknowledge the amazing work and job done by the previous organisers Les and Steve France. For thirty years they were solely responsible for making the Festival what it is today and though, as always happens with new incumbents,  we will be making the odd tweak here and there, our main three priorities will be to show the IOM government they chose wisely, to ensuring those who attend continue to have a great time and importantly to preserve then extend the legacy that Les and Steve have given the event
New directives from the BDO about the distribution of prize funds have forced not just us but all organisers to re-visit how the prize funds are spread and if you analyse the distribution of the prize money and compare it with previous years you will notice some quite significant changes.

Prize money has been increased for 2016 and in total will pay out more than £30,000 and in recognition of the fact with so many entries that the majority of players can't get near that first prize we have introduced a new singles event whereby only those who have not picked up any prize money in the two main respective ranking events will be allowed to enter.

Okay, the winners of these new initiatives won't be going home with the prestigious title and or trophy in their luggage, but they most certainly will go home with extra prize money!

It is important to us at the EDO that we cater for all our players, all our customers who attend the events we organise and the more players who return home with prize money the happier we are.

Because the event structure is so historically proven and though we hope to introduce even more initiatives for 2017 it would be folly for us to tinker with the accepted and proven status quo in any significant way, especially with such a limited time given to promote it.  We fully appreciate just how popular the men's, ladies and mixed doubles are and regulars will be pleased to know that all will be staying.

More significantly is the ranking status of the singles events. Last year the main event for both men and ladies was advertised as CAT A, this year can we point out that both will be CAT A+.

Might not appear a huge difference but when it comes to picking up those all important ranking points it is. We are also upgrading both the Isle of Man Classic events, with the men's rising from CAT C to CAT B and the ladies being upgraded from CAT C to CAT A. Significant advances that we are sure will go down well with every BDO supporter, especially as it means there will be more prize money as well.

 
Other than those, players won't notice too many changes at all, and under the “if it isn't broke why try mending it” philosophy why would they.

That said there will obviously be some, including the significant introduction of an on line booking service where you can all simply enter and pay on line for all events which has proven to be very popular at all our events. Don't worry if you are not comfortable in entering in this manner though you will still be able to enter the old fashioned way and you'll find the contact details if you wish to enter in this manner on entry forms and the web site.

But please note that particularly for all the ranking events, there will be no bookings taken on the day, everyone has to be pre-booked into these events to allow us not only to post the full draw sheets prior to arrival but also to ensure we can start on the advertised times and to assist this online entries will close on 3rd March.

If anyone has any questions whatsoever be it on the events, accommodation travel or indeed anything else to do with any part of the festival just pop into the contacts page and we will do our best to answer them for you all.

Whilst the Festival is now under our guardianship we are very mindful that the IOM International Darts Festival is the players event, and it will always remain the players event, so equally if you have any advice, comments or suggestions then again please feel free to share them with us, and please when you finish reading this pop into,  'like' and hopefully share the Isle of Man Darts Festival FB page where you will be kept up to date with all news, and developments as well as being able to take part in numerous free to enter competitions.

2017 is exciting for everyone at the EDO and we look forward to meeting many old friends and hopefully many new ones in March

see you there!

Tommy Thompson
English Darts Organisation Chairman