The Origin of Darts

Updated: January 31, 2024

There are a lot of different stories out there about darts and their origin, but most historical reports confirm that darts were invented when King Henry VIII was in power. It is thought that he wanted his archers to be able to practice year-round, ensuring that they would be prepared for battle at a moment’s notice. While practicing, the archers started tossing their arrows to see who could throw the most accurately.

Unfavorable Weather Changes Things

England’s unfavorable weather sent the king’s archers indoors to the warmth of a local pub. They shortened the arrows to handle them better and to make the game easier to play inside. Before long, the upper class became interested in displaying their dart-throwing skills, so the game started to catch on.

The Founding of the National Darts Association

In 1924, the National Darts Association was founded in London. Its founding occurred at the same time that playing darts was becoming more popular. This was when people started recognizing it as a sport. The National Darts Association established rules and regulations for the new sport.

Toward the end of World War I, pubs around England set up dart teams. They also held competitions regularly with substantial prizes. News of the World, a renowned British Sunday newspaper, backed the first major darts competition in 1927. They called it the “News of the World Individual Darts Championship.” It was immediately popular, with more than 1,000 people participating.

Dart Television Coverage

Westward Television broadcast the first darts competition in 1962. This broadcast went out to the people of southwest England. Later, in the 1970s and 1980s, a number of major tournaments were broadcast on BBC and ITV. Today, people all around the world watch darts on television. The game has also evolved with technology. Electronic dartboards are used, and they have different games built into them. They also keep score automatically.

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