Sky vs ITV vs BBC: Who puts on the best darts coverage?

Darts has always been a sport about rivalries.

Whether that’s Phil Taylor vs Raymond van Barneveld, John Lowe vs Jockey Wilson or even the PDC vs the BDO, there may not be a sport more built on rivalries than darts.

Away from the oche, there is also an ongoing battle between broadcasters.

It should come as no surprise that many different channels are all vying for the right to present the PDC’s premier events, after all, darts is the second-most watched sport on Sky in the UK.

The BBC, Sky and ITV all put on events throughout the year, and we’re wondering who is the best.

The three are absolute giants of broadcasting, and we’re going to analyse who’s the best when it comes to televised darts.

Tournaments

Due to their connections with PDC chief Barry Hearn, it should come as no surprise that Sky get the premier events, with the World Championships, Matchplay, Grand Prix, Premier League and Grand Slam all being broadcast by the satellite provider.

However, ITV also have a brilliant stable of smaller tournaments, with the UK Open, Players Championship Finals, European Championships and The Masters all appearing on ITV.

The BBC aren’t so involved these days, losing the rights to the BDO World Championships, but they do still show the Champions League of Darts, which is a fantastic event.

The three are absolute giants of broadcasting, and we’re going to analyse who’s the best when it comes to televised darts.

Commentary

One thing that is vital when it comes to televised sport is commentary.

We may have lost arguably the best of all time in Sid Waddell a few years ago, but the sport is still blessed with a number of brilliant analysts and commentators.

Sky have arguably the greatest roster with the likes of Wayne Mardle, John Part and Rod Harrington providing insight from their time as arrowsmiths, while Rod Studd, Stuart Pyke and Nigel Pearson are fantastic broadcasters in their own rights.

Sky also aren’t shy of handing out opportunities to up and comers who want to try their hand at commentary with Devon Peterson and Mark Webster getting chances over the past couple of years.

ITV also have a solid stable, with John Rawling heading up their commentary team, usually accompanied by Alan Warriner-Little or Chris Mason.

However, despite only hosting one event a year, the BBC’s commentary has to be considered the best, and that’s purely down to the fact that they allow the brilliant duo of Dan Dawson and Paul Nicholson to take the lead, and there probably isn’t a better commentary partnership in all of sport at the moment, with both men having an immense knowledge of the game and brilliant chemistry to go alongside it.

Atmosphere building

Darts isn’t just popular for what happens on stage though, the fans play a huge part, and each broadcaster plays up to this by playing music throughout the arena before every ad break.

ITV choose to go with The Fratellis’ Chelsea Dagger, which is a banger that’s bound to get any fan singing along.

The BBC also go with a classic party song with DJ Otzi’s Hey Baby, which we already hear plenty throughout the year due to the fact about 5 PDC players use it as their walk-on.

However, neither of these come close to matching Sky’s usage of Chase The Sun, which is probably been sung by every pub player in the country after pinning a winning double at some point or another.

Presentation

Sky are the kings of putting on a show, and that’s no different when it comes to darts.

Cheerleaders, fireworks, strobe lights, smoke machines, Sky Sports spare no expense when it comes to making their shows feel like big events.

Alongside that you’ve got Dave Clark, who is undoubtedly the best darts presenter on TV, and they’ve been doing this for year so they’ve got the technicalities such as camera work down to a fine art.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the BBC, they missed plenty of doubles throughout last year’s Champions League including the tournament winning double from Michael van Gerwen.

Overall, all three broadcasters do a great job when it comes to showing this sport off, but with Sky you get what you pay for, and their coverage of darts is the best in the land, for now at least.

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