The 2024 World Darts Championship (15.12.23–03.01.24) has not just hit the sports marketing bullseye; it has redefined it. The Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) and Sky Sports have crafted an event like no other, that has now become a staple in the sports calendar.

Below, I identify five reasons why this year’s edition aligned so perfectly with current sports marketing trends to achieve unprecedented success.

  1. Carving a niche in the sports calendar

The PDC and Sky Sports have successfully built a period in the annual sports calendar that’s become synonymous with the World Darts Championship. The tournament lasts under three weeks: building up the narratives to Christmas, then cranking into overdrive between Boxing Day and the New Year in preparation for a grand slam finish in early January.

This strategic timing establishes a powerful sense of anticipation and tradition, drawing in fans year after year. The championship doesn’t clash with any other major sporting events either, thus ensuring maximum attention and viewership.

  1. The Luke Littler Phenomenon

Luke Littler’s impact on the 2024 World Darts Championship was transformative. The 16-year-old’s surprise run to the final garnered unprecedented interest in the sport and caused multiple records to be smashed. Littler’s semi-final against Rob Cross, the most-watched darts match in Sky’s history (2.32m), was a precursor to the final, which shattered records as the most-watched event on Sky Sports outside of football (4.8m viewers, and peaking at 3.71 m, which is a staggering 143% increase vs the 2023 final).

Although Sky and the PDC could not have predicted the extent of Littler’s success, they recognised his potential appeal from the outset. Huge coverage and social media content centred around Littler, which created a solid foundation of interest that grew exponentially as he progressed through the tournament.

  1. Crafting compelling narratives

The championship’s success also lies in its ability to curate engaging narratives around its star names. The meteoric rise of Luke Littler, Scott Williams’ surprise run to the semi-finals, Luke Humphries’ crowning moment – coupled with the unexpected downfalls of many top players early in the tournament – made for a rich tapestry of stories.

Such narratives keep fans invested and make each tournament more than just a series of matches; they’re chapters in an ongoing saga.

  1. Mastering social media

The event’s social media impact was staggering. Sky Sports Darts’ X account amassed 149m impressions, a massive leap from 16.5m the previous year. Across all Sky social media channels, the final alone had 27.6m engagements.

Successfully utilising the drama of the competition, these remarkable social media results reflect Sky’s deep understanding both of the sport and of digital marketing trends. Sky leveraged key highlights and blockbuster finishes across their social media accounts, amplifying the excitement felt in the arena and engaging with a much broader audience.

The PDC facilitated social media growth by allowing stakeholders such as athletes and broadcasters to share footage of the event via their channels, helping to build anticipation and engagement surrounding the Championships organically.

  1. Creating a unique culture

Darts has evolved over the years to create a unique culture, central to its explosive growth.

This culture has seeped into society. The championship’s ambiance, characterised by its colourful costumes, chanting, and party-like atmosphere; has made attendance at the event a special experience and attracted a diverse range of fans.


The 2024 World Darts Championship is a case study in sports marketing excellence. From securing a prime spot in the sports calendar to leveraging the allure of emerging stars like Luke Littler, the PDC and Sky have crafted a formula for success.

Their ability to weave compelling narratives, harness the power of social media and cultivate a unique culture has not only elevated the championship but transformed darts into a mainstream spectacle.

Success of this kind provides many key learnings for International Federations and sports rights holders, including:

  1. Utilise the sports calendar to your advantage

It can be difficult to find a niche gap of time in the increasingly congested sporting schedule. Consider whether your events could be held at a different time to maximise exposure.

  1. Elevate athletes

Not every sport has a Luke Littler, but there are plenty of other athletes with fascinating stories and personalities who can bring increased exposure to your sport. It is the duty of International Federations and Sports rights holders to identify these stars and provide a platform to show them off to the world.

  1. Create a story

Sport is capable of providing more drama than fiction! Highlight the emotions from the intertwining relationships and stories of athletes and package them in ways that make a sporting occasion feel like more than the sum of its parts.

  1. Infiltrate culture

Darts has managed to create for itself a special personality unmatched in the sporting world. Consider the unique view darts has on sporting events and how it has been able to create culture and stand out from the crowd. Now find your sport’s unique selling point and show people why they want to be part of it.

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