The Danish darts news site dartnyheder.dk, has interviewed Matthew Porter earlier last month. The site have given us the opportunity to publish the interview, so we hope you will enjoy reading just below:
After almost a year and a half the PDC Nordic & Baltic could finally breathe a sigh of relief, when the PDCNB Pro Tour returned last month.
While the return of the PDCNB Pro Tour means that the players once again can dream about success and glory, it also means that the PDC can continue their ambitions of developing the game of darts even further into the Nordic and Baltic territory. But just how big is the potential for further development in the PDC Nordic & Baltic, and how should it be fulfilled? These are some of the questions we recently asked Matthew Porter, Chief Executive of the PDC.
Gives credit to the organizers
Matthew, what are your thoughts on the tournaments in Iceland?
“I think the first and most important point is to give credit to the people who managed to stage the event in the continuing difficult circumstances. We know ourselves how difficult it can be to stage these kinds of events, especially when you have people travelling across international borders. So full credit to everybody for doing that.
“Iceland is an interesting country for us, because although we have never had an Icelandic professional, we do know that the interest from fans, players, media and broadcasters exists over there.
“It’s always interesting to see tournaments taking place in new countries for us, and I think it’s good to see the PDC Nordic & Baltic expanding from its traditional homelands of countries like Denmark, Sweden and Finland. It’s fantastic, so big congratulations to everyone staging the events and a big thank you to the players for supporting it as well.”
Happy for the development, but expects even more in the future
Considering the PDC’s increased focus and investment in the Nordic and Baltic regions in the last few years (with the introduction of the European Tour and a World Series-event etc.) are you then satisfied with the development in PDC Nordic & Baltic-area?
“To be honest it’s an ongoing process. When we go into a new territory, we don’t expect to achieve everything within two, three, four or even five years, it’s always going to be a long-term plan. But we are happy to see that the PDC Nordic has expanded into the Baltic, and to see the players develop themselves like Darius Labanauskas from Lithuania and Madars Razma from Latvia who are both regulars on the Pro Tour.
“Of course, we want to see even more players, but I think that will come in time, and probably from younger players coming through to join the system.”
What is the PDC’s main criteria for success in the PDC Nordic & Baltic area? Is it an increase in the number of players, the quality of the players, increase in the number of viewing-figures or something else?
“Well, we obviously got the upcoming Nordic Darts Masters in Forum in Copenhagen, and that has come about because of the success of darts on Viaplay, TV 2 and the various other broadcast partners in the region that has seen a lot of interest from fans, which is great.
“What we need to see now is to get more players participating more regularly on the tour. The last 18 months has obviously made life very difficult for everybody, so even though the players may have wanted to commit more time or effort to their darts, then they have not been able to. But now is probably a good time for a bit of a restart, and we will see how it develops into 2022.
“We’re not judging anything right now because of what has happened in the last 18 months. But we’re interested in seeing what happens, when we get out of this stage, and what progress is made next.”
Sees a big potential in the Nordic and Baltic
How big do you consider the potential for further development in the Nordic and Baltic?
“If you look in the terms of population, there’s no reason why the Nordic and Baltic should not be able to have as big success as countries like The Netherlands or Belgium.
“It would not be fair to compare the Nordic or Baltic countries to countries like Germany, but if you want to set a benchmark, then the growth of darts across Benelux should be something that is looking to be replicated across the Nordic and Baltic region – personally I would say, that there’s a great potential in the Nordic and Baltic.”
Do you think it’s possible, that a player from the Nordic or Baltic area will be able to compete for a World Championship title in the foreseeable future?
“Of course it’s possible. Just like it’s possible that a player from the Pacific Islands, South America or anywhere else in the world can one day find themselves in a World Championship Final. It’s all about talent, determination, application and, sometimes, a bit of luck, that decides how far you will go.
“Your nationality is not a barrier for how far you can go. I can’t see why a Nordic or Baltic player should not be able to win the World Championship – perhaps not tomorrow, but there’s no reason why it shouldn’t happen in the future.”
Matthew Porter says that he will be attending the Nordic Darts Masters when the tournament starts on Friday the 17th.