Snooker stars want darts treatment
Updated: Saturday, 12 Jan 2013 11:11
John Higgins and Judd Trump would welcome snooker chiefs embracing the all-singing, all-dancing darts culture after the roaring success of the PDC World Championship.
The showcase event of the darts season saw large crowds flock to Alexandra Palace in north London, with more than 45,000 spectators attending over the 15 days of competition.
That was a record, viewing figures reached remarkable new heights, and the raucous atmosphere that was generated, fuelled by Christmas party spirit and sky-high bar sales, has raised eyebrows in other sports.
It was not to everybody's taste, and purists have taken against previous attempts to take snooker down a similar path with events such as Power Snooker and the Shoot-Out.
They have been likened to Twenty20 cricket, a format of the sport that unsettles many in its initial stages before becoming an accepted part of the calendar.
Snooker's Masters begins tomorrow, also at Alexandra Palace and also, like the PDC darts, with promoter Barry Hearn pulling the strings.
Trump spent an evening at the darts, and the 23-year-old world number two can see elements working in snooker.
He told Press Association Sport: "I think they need to compromise. The atmosphere and the crowds were really good. It was a bit rowdy for me at the darts but I think they (snooker officials) need to certainly liven it up a little bit, especially between frames.
"The crowd should be allowed to chant perhaps, or get some music playing.
"When people are sat quietly for 20-25 minutes per frame then they should be allowed to let their hair down at the end of it."
Higgins, bidding for his third Masters title, was glued to the darts final, as Phil Taylor beat Michael van Gerwen.
It reminded the 37-year-old Scot of the Irish Masters' best years, when the Goffs venue in County Kildare staged the liveliest events on tour.
Higgins says he would have no problem with a noisy atmosphere, even though snooker has been renowned for the silence of its crowds.
"I think it's pretty hard to bring the darts razzmatazz to snooker," Higgins said.
"At the darts there's maybe only a small percentage that are there to really watch the darts, and the rest of them are there to enjoy themselves.
"That's the way the players are brought up in the darts, with a lot of noise.
"I wouldn't be averse to it but it's hard because they have finishes to legs every two or three minutes, when in snooker it can be every 20 minutes to get a frame.
"The closest we came to the darts atmosphere was when we played at Goffs in the Irish Masters and that was like a football crowd.
"It was a great atmosphere to play in but that was down to a lot of alcohol.
"That's maybe why the atmosphere was so good, because half of them were drunk.
"If Barry Hearn could give away a free drink when fans walk in to watch snooker now then you might have a chance of bringing back that atmosphere. We'll have to put that to Barry. I don't think he'd give it away free, though."