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‘Luke Littler effect’ causes pubco to install dartboards

A pubco has decided to put dartboards into 171 pubs after growth in demand following the interest in teenage player Luke Littler.

The news comes off the back of Littler’s arrival into the professional darts world at the age of 16, where he reached the final of the PDC World Championship last December, eventually losing to Luke Humphries.

But now Amber Taverns has decided to respond to the demand from its customers for more boards by placing them into every one of their pubs and bars across its UK-wide estate.

Chief executive of the pubco, James Baer, said that although darts “doesn’t sound the most glamorous or exciting thing” due to Little “there has been a real take-up”

He said: “It’s another reason to come to the pub.”

Pub games

One of the many videos that went viral on social media during Littler’s PDC run was from his local pub, The Windle in St Helens.

Here, he had been a regular darts thrower, as part of his apprenticeship at the St Helens Dart Academy.

The other video was of the team at the Runcorn Golf Club bar, home to his current pub darts team, ‘The Bogey Flickers’, who jumped for joy at his victory.

Following the smoking ban and the rise of cheap off-trade alcohol sales, wet-led community pubs have had to adapt, and across the country darts has played a vital role in the survival of the on-trade in the last decade.

Littler is a great example of the shift to encouraging younger people into the ‘adult space’ of pubs. Indeed, another picture which went viral on social media yesterday was of fellow finalist Luke Humphries taking on the-then 12 year old Littler at another pub tournament in Hayling Island, again illustrated this change of attitudes perfectly.

Changing rules

Speaking to the BBC earlier this yearLittler said of the importance of pubs in his career: “From the age of 18 months I’ve just been non stop and then by the age of four I got onto the proper board. When we moved to Warrington when I was eight or nine, we started going out to pubs four or five times a week and I was just non-stop.”

This would have been unthinkable a generation ago. Pubs were legally ‘out of bounds’ for under-14s until 1995, and teenagers and children were frowned upon until much more recently. In fact, a-board signs still exist across the UK which state rules such as ‘no under-12s after 7pm’.

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