Today I am joined by Chris Clegg of protege events, who have really helped young darts players to show their talent and after 4 years have really took off since the launch of their TV show on Sky ‘The Darts Factor’ where like the x factor contestants show their darting skills to 3 judges and try to impress them and win The Darts Factor, they also sponsor a lot of young players in the PDC including top PDC star Kyle Anderson, and they also do a darts completion all around the world where 2 people will earn the right to play on the world championship stage at Alexandra palace, I will be chatting to chris about how life has been since the Darts Factor launched and what protege do for the game of darts
TS:Thanks for joining me chris this is a real pleasure, ‘The Darts Factor’ has really took off since being on our screens,who came up with the idea and where you expecting it to be such a success?
CC: “Pleasure, Tom. I’ve wanted to create ‘The X Factor’ of sport for as long as I can remember – the darts factor is the start of that – there’s a long way to go but it’s been received well and we’ve paused in transmission having seen viewing figures six times those in week 1 so it bodes well for the return”
TS: Later this year you will be doing a Team Protege Premier league is this correct? and tell me more?
CC: “Yes, the players that were successful in their darts factor audition and a few wildcards will battle it out for an array of great prizes in the PYPL…And of course, they’ll be on telly, which is great for the players. There are players ranging from 7 year-old county player Davy-Jay Knowles, who has already hit a competitive 180 and 11 year-old Beau Greaves, who ripped up the ‘field’ in the auditions, scoring in excess of 500 in her 15 dart challenge; through to 23 year-old Jamie ‘Last Minute’ Landon, who assumed that nickname as he almost missed his audition. Even in a youth premier league there’s a real blend of youth and experience,Amongst the wildcard is an 18 year-old lad from Cleveland who we are very excited about – Jordan Matthews – already hit a 9 in competition: watch this space – the boy is gifted”
TS:You sponsor some fantastic new players such as Ross Twell,Declan Salter and of course Kyle Anderson what attracts you to these players?
CC: “I’m crap at darts but I know a lot about the sport and I think I can see natural talent immediately. Kyle’s natural ability is unquestionable – talent-wise he’s up with the elite…I try to get him to practice more but I don’t think that helps… It’s terrific to see Ross getting back to his best – he’s also naturally gifted and he works hard; and Declan won a couple of matches at the recent development tour meeting – he’s just 16…. Great future and lovely family backing him all the way”
TS: You have had some amazing talent on ‘the darts factor’ so far beau greaves is a real talent sky is the limit for her u must feel?
CC:” Incredible. I’m utterly gobsmacked every time I see Beau throw – she’s awesome and has a wonderful temperament and lovely, supportive family backing her. It’s just a shame the BDO is frightened to allow her to enter ladies’ competitions as they will stunt her progress. It’s great to see an 11 year-old beating grown men and women in a sport they’ve played for years, the BDO need to get with it and realise what a phenomenon Beau Greaves is”
TS: The ‘urban bar’ in doncaster is featured on the programme do you organise many exhibitions there?
CC: “We’ve worked closely with The Urban since I formed Protege four years ago – Paul Roidl and Rick Curry who run the bar and keep the darts going, are both diamonds. If every pub in the country had a Paul and a Rick, no pubs would be closing. They make things happen and utilise such mediums as social media, engaging potential punters far and wide, which is why their pub is packed every Thursday full of darts players / lovers,We have an exhibition tonight (Friday) at the new sports bar (Loaded) they have opened next door to The Urban. A pub that had never seen darts a few years ago is now branching out and opening a darts-themed sports bar – brilliant”
TS: With Kyle qualified for the matchplay how muchare you looking forward to the event?
CC: “We are buzzing for it. The TV majors are where The Original should be and he’s capable of doing some real damage. He’s getting used to the big stage and the more we see him on it the better he gets and the higher the averages. James Wade [Kyle’s first round opponent] is back to his best and he’ll need to be. Can’t wait for Sunday night”
Ts: When is the darts factor back on our screens?
CC: “Later in the year. We will film between sept – nov but it probably won’t be screened until December”
TS: What do you offer players when they sign with team protege?
CC: “A fair deal and lots of opportunities. I like players to be assertive and help themselves. Some players just expect success, fame and fortune, without the hard work. We provide a great platform and a plethora of avenues to explore but we expect our players to be part of the team – working hard for each other”
TS: With shows like the darts factor and protege premier league and the team protege event with a game on the ally pally stage up for grabs team protege is doing so much for the world of darts you must be so happy with it?
CC: “I thank Barry Hearn for giving me the Ally Pally for our final and I’m really thankful he shared my vision when I used to stalk him many years ago ? I’m delighted with where we have come but it has taken a lot of hard work and determination. I love everything about darts which is why I left the teaching profession to set up this business. Enjoying it, most of the time”
TS:Thank you for your time chris, and all the best in the future…….
CC: “Thanks Tom, you too”