World's leading darts manufacturer sponsors first ever world-wide darts championship
A record number of nations will be competing for record prize money in the first ever Unicorn World Darts Championship, which is open to teams of two players. More than £10,000 in cash and prizes are on offer, with £2,000 going to the winners of the final. The runner-up team will receive £500 and each defeated team in the semi-finals will collect £200. The winners will also hold the magnificent Unicorn Trophy for one year. This is a solid silver globe, surmounted by three solid gold darts, which is valued at £3,000.
No less than 15 countries will be taking part: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, England, Gibraltar, Ireland, Lebanon, Malta, Scotland, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, USA and Wales. It will be the first time that Australian, Canadian, Danish, Maltese, Lebanese, South African or Swiss players have visited Britain for an international darts competition.
The world final will take place next Easter Sunday (30th March, 1975) at the West Centre Hotel in London. The national finals for England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales will be staged the previous day (Easter Saturday) together with an invitation international match which will provide a preliminary warm-up for all visiting teams. The 'Unicorn Easter Weekend' will therefore provide darts enthusiasts with an unprecedented feat of top-class matches.
Match play will be under the exclusive supervision of the British Darts Organisation, which came into being just over two years ago. Under its general secretary, Oliver Croft, the B.D.O. has become recognised as the major influence in the promotion of 'top' darts and the Unicorn World Darts Championship will enhance this well-earned reputation.
Prizes (with a total value of more than £2,400) will be divided among the winners and runners-up of the 40 regional finals in Britain and Ireland. Unicorn will also be providing free travel to London and accommodation for the Unicorn Easter Weekend for no less than eight people from each region. Both members of the winning team will receive a de-luxe weekend for two, so will the Unicorn stockist from whom they buy their darts and the publican or club official for whom they normally play. The entertainments will include an all-star cabaret on the Saturday night, with dancing to Acker Bilk (who also happens to be a fanatical darts player).
Entries are now open and entry forms will be available at clubs, pubs and sports shops throughout the country within the next few days. By the closing date (20th December, 1974) it is expected that the names of more than 20,000 British and Irish darts players will have been fed into the Unicorn Computer. The venue of regional finals will be decided with the aid of the computer, which will provide information on the number of entries from each area.
It is estimated that 6½ million people in Britain play darts regularly, making this the largest participant sport in the country. Its popularity is expending rapidly overseas and the total entry for the Unicorn World Dart's Championship is expected to involve 100,000 players (50,000 teams). Sixty percent of the darts manufactured by Unicorn Products are already sold overseas and Managing Director, Stanley Lowy, hopes that the new Championship will stimulate the export drive still further.
Unicorn, who make fifty percent of the darts sold in Britain, produce over 2,000 items for the game, including a staggering variety of 120 different types of dart barrels. A single year's production of darts from their South London factory would stretch all the way from John O'Groats to Land's End.