Darts: Hamilton to host big names for 2019 NZ Masters

Auckland has been replaced by Hamilton for the 2019 edition of the Darts Masters.
Auckland has been replaced by Hamilton for the 2019 edition of the Darts Masters. Photo credit: Photosport

Hamilton will host the biggest names in darts in 2019, when the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) World Series returns to New Zealand. 

Claudelands Arena will host the NZ Darts Masters on August 23-24, a new destination in New Zealand, following four successful years in Auckland.

The event will see eight of the game's best players, joined by eight qualifiers from the Oceania region.

Hamilton venues, tourism and major events general manager Sean Murray says bringing the event to the Waikato is massive for the city.

"Darts, at this level, is played by some high-profile and engaging athletes, and it’s going to be really special to have them in the city," he said.

"The H3 team will pull out all the stops to put on a great event for the players and the supporters. A lot of thought is going into how we set up the arena, and how we can make sure we really take advantage of the size and shape of our venue.

"We're going to put on a great show here. We're determined to take things up a couple of notches for darts fans in New Zealand and ensure they have a really memorable experience.”

Hamilton is one of two new cities on the world series tour, with Cologne in Germany also staging an event for the first time, while the darts return to Las Vegas for the second consecutive year.

Australia will also host events in Brisbane (August 9-10) and Melbourne (August 16-17), before making the trip over the New Zealand.

Kiwi players are eligible to qualify for the Australian events.

The international events will be followed from November 1-3 by the World Series of Darts Finals in Amsterdam, as 24 players contest the season-ending tournament at AFAS Live.

"Following the success of our 2018 World Series of Darts events, this is an exciting schedule for 2019, which will take the world's top players around the globe," said PDC chief executive Matthew Porter.

"The German Darts Masters kicked off this year's action with a world record crowd and we're expecting huge interest once again with our first event in Cologne.

"It's also great to be able to take the world series to Hamilton, with the sport growing in popularity year-on-year in New Zealand, while established destinations in Australia and Las Vegas are a great place to see the biggest names in darts live."

In August, Porter told Newshub that the PDC was “looking at other markets” for the future, while considering the possibilities of hosting two events in NZ, one each in the North Island and South Island.

The 2018 Auckland Masters saw world number one Michael Van Gerwen come out on top, while Kiwi Mark McGrath became the first New Zealand representative to beat a top-ranked player at the event, when he beat Michael Smith.