The World Matchplay Darts Tournament has been held annually in Blackpool since 1994 and the event takes place in the Winter Gardens at the Empress Ballroom. It is run by the Professional Darts Corporation and is distinctive in that it involves a format where the winner has to win by a margin of two legs, rather than finishing with a deciding leg. The tournament sponsors are Stan James and they are the third company to have sponsored the event, the others being Proton Cars and Websters. The present champion is Phil Taylor who has won the tournament a total of nine times and in 2009 will be aiming for his tenth championship with an opening match against Robert Thornton. Other famous players including, Raymond van Barneveld, James Wade, Gary Anderson, Mervyn King, Dennis Priestley and Denis Ovens will also be competing in the Blackpool 2009 tournament. Since its inception it has been won by six different competitors - nine times champion Phil Taylor, twice winner Rod Harrington, and four players who have taken the title once each: Larry Butler, Peter Evison, Colin Lloyd and James Wade. The Tournament has been sponsored by Stan James since 2000. Blackpool has been associated with some great achievements in the history of darts including Phil Taylor’s 2002 nine dart finish which was referred to as the greatest darting moment ever by Sky Sports. The Stan James World Matchplay is numbered among the biggest darts competitions in the world, and is the second most important organized by the PDC.
The Blackpool Darts championship is televised and is also popular with spectators who want to watch the tournament live. Tickets are in great demand and the event is usually sold out. The 2009 tournament begins on July 19th with 32 star players and a total of £400,000 in prize money. Blackpool Winter Gardens is now acknowledged as one of the greatest of the world’s darts venues. Phil Taylor is recognized as the greatest darts player ever and in addition to his nine Matchplay titles has averaged over one hundred in the majority of his finals in the championship. Darts in Blackpool is a major attraction for visitors with thousands of people travelling to the resort to watch the event. The 2009 Stan James World Matchplay Darts Tournament will be held from 19th to 26th July in the Empress Ballroom at Blackpool Winter Gardens with Phil “The Power” Taylor aiming to retain his crown. Tickets for the darts championship can be booked online when available.
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