Express & Star comment: Grand Slam of Darts is great for Wolverhampton

Express & Star comment: Grand Slam of Darts is great for Wolverhampton

Wayne Mardles Grand Slam of Darts predictions

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The Grand Slam of Darts is expected to lose money this year after it emerged its move away from the Civic Hall has seen a fall in ticket sales.

Wolverhampton Council was forced to move the event – which starts tomorrow – to Aldersley Leisure Village due to the Civic halls revamp.

Now, according to an internal report seen by the Express & Star, events transferred to Aldersley are forecast to lose £45,000.

These include the darts, as well as comedy shows by Dave Gorman, Jason Manford, Sarah Millican and Joe Lycett, whose November 26 show has sold out.

The October 19 report, compiled by council officers, said: Originally, the events were forecasted to lose £75,000, however, costs were driven down in time for the last cabinet report to the point where the events were forecasted to be cost neutral.

The 32-player tournament has long been seen as a money-spinner for the city, bringing in thousands of fans from all over Europe as players from both the PDC and BDO systems compete.

The council announced plans to move it along with other events earlier this year after the restoration of the Civic was delayed.

The cost of the overhaul more than doubled to £38 million and, more than two years after work started on the job, it remains in a state of disrepair.

Tory councillor Paul Singh said: This is one of the biggest events the city hosts and the council was insistent that moving it to another venue would not have a detrimental effect.

A council spokesman said: With the Civic Halls closed for refurbishment, councillors were determined to keep high-profile events in the city to benefit the wider economy, rather than risk losing them to other places.

Both the council and PDC are delighted to have kept the event in the city but we anticipated it would be difficult to match the record-breaking sales of last year.

We have worked hard with the PDC to promote this years bwin Grand Slam of Darts, including laying on shuttle buses for customers to and from the city centre.

In addition to the darts, we have also switched a number of high-profile November comedy events to Aldersley Leisure Village and sales for the six comedy nights match those of similar events at the Civic Halls, with Joe Lycett on November 26 a sell-out.

PDC Chief Executive Matthew Porter added: “Were sure the bwin Grand Slam of Darts will prove as successful and popular at Aldersley Leisure Village as is was at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall.

“Weve worked hard with City of Wolverhampton Council in recent months and are looking forward to an exciting nine days, while the event will receive greater worldwide exposure than ever before through our international broadcast partners.

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

We asked Wayne Mardle to delve into his crystal ball and answer some key questions before the Grand Slam of Darts…

Hawaii 501 gives us the lowdown all on eight groups at this years Grand Slam and gives them their own special title, while discussing the big talking points ahead of this years cross-code event.

Van Gerwen looks an absolute certainty in that. Jonny Clayton is good on his day but very inconsistent and Joe Murnans only won £3,500 all year so this shows you how big this is for him.

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