Darts great Bobby George says the game is a great soap opera for licensees to showcase in their pubs.

The professional-turned-pundit, who is raising awareness about Prostate Cancer, says people love watching the arrers in the local.

He told Inapub: "It's great entertainment and it generates a great atmosphere in the pub. People watch it and have a bet on it and enjoy the show. They say 'I like that one because he's good-looking', or 'I don't like that one because he's ugly or he's boring'. It's all about personality."

Bobby, who is now 72, was the starting point for the razzamatazz that has made darts one of the most popular televised sports. Years before theme tunes and models accompanied players to the stage, he would make his way to the oche wearing a cape and carrying a candelabra.

"I feel a right prat doing that at my age," he laughs. "but it's what people want and it's part of the game."

He also believes darts is well-represented in pubs in certain parts of the country.

"It depends where you go," he says. "There's a lot of pubs in Birmingham with dartboards and Scotland does well too.

Other places went for pool tables but lots of them have gone now, because pool players don't drink like darts players and the dining has come in.

"In community pubs the darts can be really important because you get a big group in and it's important trade. In places like Surrey and London it's more about dining and having lots of people in who you might not see again."

 

 

 

'tis the season

Darts comes into its own in the winter with two major tournaments. Leading the way is the PDC World Championships, which starts on December 22 and ends with the final on New Year's Day.

This year's tournament will be a poignant affair, as it is the last time the 16-times world champion Phil "The Power" Taylor will take the stage.

The action will be broadcast on Sky Sports.

 

 

A Sky spokeswoman says: "Watching darts in a live arena can often have a similar atmosphere to that of the pub, meaning licensees can capitalise on what is an ideal sport for their venue by recreating that unique buzz and making their pub the go-to place for watching darts."

She adds that pubs can recreate the atmosphere by ensuring walk-on music can be heard and by giving customers placards and foam fingers.

Lager is the most popular drink at darts events so pitchers could be in order, along with quick and easy food such as burgers and hot dogs.

In January, attention switches to the BDO's version of the World Championships, an event broadcast by BT Sport as well as Channel 4.

Bruce Cuthbert, BT Sport's director of commercial customers, said: "What better way to beat the January blues than by arranging a darts night to coincide with the competition? If you don't have a dartboard, get one, and make the most of the winter's Wimbledon effect in arrows."

 

Pubs against prostate cancer

Bobby George has signed up to the Men United Arms campaign to encourage pubs to help men beat prostate cancer.

Bobby said: "The pub is the hub of a community, which is why it is so important that licensees start raising wareness among their locals, and funds for this cause.

Plus, it is a great way to get customers at your bar.

 

 

"I didn't know much about prostate cancer but the stats are frightening — one in eight men gets it and every 45 minutes a man dies of it. A lot of men are worried about going to the doctor to get checked out but it's just a blood test and it's best to catch it early. This campaign is about raising awareness and money — because you need that to fight it."

Pubs are being encouraged to raise money for the cause between now and March 31.

Every pub that signs up as a Men United Arms goes into a draw each month to win prizes including t-shirts, branded golf balls and football tickets.

And all those that raise more than £200 will be entered into a competition to become the Prostate Cancer UK charity's favourite local — with Bobby joining MasterChef's Greg Wallace and industry professionals on a judging panel.

The winners will receive free social media advertising, a cheque presentation, a framed personalised Prostate Cancer UK shirt and publicity within their local and trade media.