St Louis, MO, March 05, 2015 --(PR.com
)-- Fourth annual Tournament of Champions will offer darts players $750,000 in payouts.
For the fourth consecutive year, many of the best soft tip darts players in the United States will meet in Kansas City, Mo., for a chance to win as much as $20,000. But for the very first time this fall, they’ll also be playing with the cameras rolling.
Returning Oct. 17-22 to the KCI-Expo Center, the Tournament of Champions remains one of the most lucrative soft tip darts competitions in North America, with this year reaching as much as $750,000 in payouts. It’s just one reason why the event’s organizers have partnered with American Media Distribution (AMD) to produce this year’s triple-elimination competition into a reality TV pilot.
“As more Americans learn about the game and other aspects of our darting community the sport can grow and so, too, can TV coverage opportunities,” Director of the Partners Promoting Darts (PPD) Jim Turntine says.
While the TV pilot will be developed into more of a reality/documentary-style show than a traditional sporting event, viewers can expect to learn the ins and outs about America’s soft tip darts community with the 2015 TOC setting the stage.
“We plan to introduce viewers to the sport in another way,” Turntine says. “We will focus on making a TV show that is first, entertaining to watch. We will introduce America to the sport of soft tipped darts, the dart machines, remote league and tournament capabilities, the existing community of players and leagues that is the PPD sanctioning program, all with the Tournament of Champions as the backdrop of the show.”
Turntine and TOC organizers plan to broadcast the content that AMD films and produces at this year’s event nationwide through syndication, strategically pre-purchasing airtime in pre-selected markets shortly after the event concludes in October.
“The success of our first year's production will help determine expansion for Year No. 2 and beyond,” Turntine says. “If we are even moderately successful in garnering ratings, then Year No. 2 may well see multiple episodes of content. As viewership grows, live content can become an option, too.”
There are several ways darts players from across the country can qualify for the 2015 TOC. As part of the first pre-qualifier tournament to ever be played remotely, a total of 96 players (64 men and 32 women) will compete individually in August to advance to the TOC Semifinals and Finale. Of those 96 players, 16 men and eight women will advance directly to the next round, which requires each participant to blind draw a partner if they reach the TOC Finale.
“You don’t know who’s going to win the tournament because anybody can draw anybody,” Turntine says. “That’s a big psychological advantage to what we do.”
By allowing 24 players to qualify early for the TOC Semifinals and Finale through remote league and tournament play, they’ll have the unique opportunity to be featured in the TV pilot during this year’s TOC. To add further incentive, the highest-finishing man and woman of those 24 players will win double the prize money in Kansas City. Both male and female participants will have the chance to win an extra $10,000 and a total of $20,000 if they win their respective TOC Finale competitions. All 24 of these players can come from geographically anywhere in America, as long as they can play on a nearby PPD-owned G3 dartboard.
Players who wish to be one of these 24 players can earn their spot by competing in remote Extreme-Team leagues and tournaments and earning one of the 96 pre-qualifier vouchers. Half of those 96 vouchers will be awarded by points under the PPD’s new points system, while the other half will be allotted to remote players competing in singles tournaments through July.
Meanwhile, players who do not compete in August’s pre-qualifier tournament are required to earn a qualifier voucher by competing in their local leagues and tournaments, which must be registered PPD members. In order to qualify, these players must compete in a minimum of 350 games of x01 and/or cricket, which are two different formats of play based on marks per round (cricket) or points per dart (x01), with each PPD vendor purchasing and handing out vouchers to the best players in their market.
Both players who earn a qualifier voucher as well as players who fail to earn a qualifier voucher can also receive vouchers to participate in the TOC’s doubles and triples tournaments, which go on at the same time as the other TOC competitions and will serve as ancillary events, offering players of all skill levels an opportunity to compete in Kansas City. Players must play a minimum of 200 games of x01 and/or cricket through their local PPD leagues and tournaments in order to qualify for the doubles and triples events.
Twice as many men as women compete in the TOC each year, but with player entries climbing quickly since the event’s inception, Turntine expects this year’s turnout to be even bigger than last year’s.
“This year we could have 1,000 players in Kansas City,” Turntine says.
The PPD consists of approximately 50 vending companies and 37,000 players from across the U.S. who have come together to promote the sport of soft tip darts. PPD members make up the largest network of remote league locations in the U.S., with many of them competing in the Horizon Darts Extreme-Team league system, which uses the latest dartboard technology to electronically keep score.
“There are so many neat things coming out of these new machines,” Turntine says. “We’re just getting started capitalizing on it for everybody’s benefit.”
For more information on the 2015 Tournament of Champions, please visit www.dartstoc.com.
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