NEW FIVE YEAR WINTER GARDENS DEAL FOR PDC AS WORLD MATCHPLAY REMAINS IN BLACKPOOL
The Professional Darts Corporation is delighted to announce a new, five-year contract to keep the BetVictor World Matchplay at Blackpool's famous Winter Gardens.
The tournament, which is the PDC's second longest running major, has been held in the picturesque Empress Ballroom at the Winter Gardens since its inception in 1994.
A favourite venue for players and fans alike, the Winter Gardens will host its 21st World Matchplay from July 19-27 2014, which will be the first tournament under the new agreement between the PDC and the venue.
Reigning World Matchplay champion Phil Taylor, who won his 14th Blackpool title and a record sixth in a row at this summer's event, said: "This is great news, both for myself and also for everyone who loves the Winter Gardens.
"I've been fortunate enough to play in hundreds of venues throughout my career, but the Winter Gardens is my favourite. It's a special place, it's a venue that everybody wants to play in and it has something magical about it.
"It's been very kind to me over the past 20 years, and I've got a lot of great memories at the Winter Gardens - and hopefully I'll create some more in the next few years too!
Michael Williams, Managing Director of the Winter Gardens, said: "We marked the 20th anniversary of hosting the World Matchplay earlier this year, and to be securing its future in the resort for another five years is great news for Blackpool, and is testament to the PDC's commitment to the town and the venue.
"Next year's tournament will continue to be one of the highlights of the Winter Gardens' calendar, attracting a huge audience to Blackpool."
The Empress Ballroom was originally opened in 1896, 18 years after the original Winter Gardens complex was built, and hosts events as varied as ballroom dancing competitions, music concerts and political party conferences.
Tickets for the 2014 BetVictor World Matchplay are expected to go on sale in January 2014. See www.pdc.tv/tickets for further information once announced.
After more than 130 years in private ownership Blackpool Council purchased the Winter Gardens in March 2010. Funding for the purchases and investment was secured from European Regional Development Fund, Homes and Communities Agency, Northwest Regional Development Agency and Blackpool Council. Following acquisition the Winter Gardens has undergone some major refurbishment including extensive work to the entrances, Dome and Floral Hall, and the opening of the two new dining options – The Mazzei Café and The Empress Grill Room. More projects are in discussion. The Winter Gardens is operated on behalf of Blackpool Council by Crown Entertainment Centres Ltd.