Darts: PDC extends Blackpool's Winter Gardens deal for five years

Last Updated: 15/10/13 4:30pm

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Winter Gardens action from this year

Winter Gardens action from this year

Sky Bet

The prestigious World Matchplay will stay at Blackpool's famous Winter Gardens for another five years.

The tournament, which is the Professional Darts Corporation's second longest running major, has been held in the picturesque Empress Ballroom since its inception in 1994, being broadcast by Sky Sports.

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.

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