Barry Hearn: “My job is to make darts a global sport”

You have brought several eye-catching innovations to sports.

I was trying to make everyone more famous. In sports, you have to be famous. You cannot be a secret. When I entered the circus tavern, these players were very well known but only to a limited number of people. So the first job was to expand the network to make sure they were full-fledged personalities, hence the nicknames, entry music, etc.

I remember a player by the name of Steve Hine came to me once and said, “I was a baker. When I walk in, is it okay if I wear one of those baker’s hats and throw muffins at the crowd? I said, “What do you mean, ‘Is everything okay’? This is great, son. And he became The Muffin Man. It wasn’t someone who just wanted take money. He felt that he was someone and that the crowd was linked to him. And they also wanted a free muffin!

Look at Snakebite – Peter Wright. He played darts his whole life, but no one knew him. He was just a good county player. Suddenly he and his wife made up a character. “Can I wear different colored pants?” The rule was that you had to wear black pants. It was ridiculous. “Of course you can, Peter.” “Can my wife paint these things on my head?” “You’re going to sound ridiculous, but keep going …” Next thing you know, he’s made a personality.