New Hong Kong darts tournament ready to rock the house and town
Organisers hope September event will be similar to a 'Hong Kong Sevens' with party atmosphere
Hong Kong will have a second "Hong Kong Sevens" this year when the first major professional darts tournament is staged on the Central waterfront.
Five of the world's top-20 players, including world number two Phil Taylor of England, will take on local aces Scott Mackenzie and Royden Lam Ting-chi on September 4-5 with the Hong Kong skyline as the backdrop and a party atmosphere pumping the players on.
In a novel move, organisers will hold the event in a marquee in the shadow of the observation wheel, which will be turned into a giant dartboard to promote the event.
"The plan is to turn this event into a "Hong Kong Sevens" with a wild crowd enjoying themselves. From next year it will become part of the PDC [Professional Darts Corporation] World Tour which already has stopovers in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Dubai," Mackenzie said.
"This will be the biggest thing to happen to darts in Hong Kong. We hope it will really raise the profile of the sport here and attract more players."
Mackenzie and Lam made the darts world sit up and take notice of Hong Kong when they stormed into the quarter-finals at the World Cup of Darts in Frankfurt last week, knocking out seeded countries Wales and Ireland.
"Playing in front of our home crowd will help push us even more," said Mackenzie. "Former world champion Michael van Gerwen once told me 'you have to play with fire in your belly' and that you can't be a 'Mr Nice Guy'.
"He said you have to play like it's a war if you really want to win and I think with the support of our fans we can do this."
Organisers allotted around 2,000 tickets, but will increase the number if the demand is high. Tickets go on sale next week.
Taylor, who together with Adrian Lewis won the World Cup of Darts, will be the drawcard.
The Englishman has won more than £600,000 (HK$7.4 million) this season on the professional circuit. He will be joined in Hong Kong by fellow professionals Raymond van Barneveld, Stephen Bunting, Wes Newton and Andy Hamilton.
The eight-strong draw will be completed by a local wild card who will be chosen from a qualifying competition.
"The eight players will go into a draw which will be held on September 2 and we will then play a best-of-21 legs [the first to win 11 legs] all the way to the final. We will have PDC referee Russ Bray to oversee the scoring," Mackenzie said.
It is understood a sponsor has been found and prize money will be up for grabs.
"This will be a huge boost for the sport in Hong Kong," Mackenzie said.