February 24, 2024

Ministers have been urged to ensure the World Darts Championship final is free to watch

The Liberal Democrats said it would be a “scandal” for the match not to be broadcast on ITV and the BBC, as well as on Sky Sports, which broadcasts the sporting event.

Sixteen-year-old Littler is the youngest player ever to reach the tournament playoff, and has earned celebrity status for his performance.

On Tuesday night, he earned his place in the final with a 6-2 win over former champion Rob Cross.

Ahead of his appearance on Wednesday in the final against Luke Humphries, the Liberal Democrats urged the government to follow the precedent of other major events in rugby, football and cricket, and ensure coverage is free to watch.

Jamie Stone, the party's culture and sport spokesman, said: “The country is suffering from dart fever and the sight of a 16-year-old Briton becoming world champion.

“It would be shameful for this historic game to be hidden from millions of people. The final should be live on TV. If the football, cricket and rugby World Cup finals are broadcast free-to-air, then darts should be broadcast free-to-air.

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“Sky Sports should do the right thing and share coverage with the likes of the BBC or ITV. Ministers have the power to put pressure on them.”

It is understood that broadcasters could reach such an arrangement on their own without the need for ministerial intervention.

Lucy Fraser, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, congratulated Littler after his semi-final victory.

She wrote on X: “Great win from Luke Littler in the semi-final this evening.

“Reaching the World Championship final on his debut at the age of 16 and it's amazing how he got everyone interested in darts.”