Starting with the Premier League in Sheffield on May 12th, five elite Dutch darts players will form a new squad. Chris Woerts, the company’s founder, brings together Raymond van Barneveld, Dirk van Duijvenbode, Michael van Gerwen, Danny Noppert, and Vincent van der Voort.
They sign a three-year deal with TOTO Dart Kings, who has acquired a name sponsor in betting company TOTO.
Michael van Gerwen is combative and hopes that the partnership will spur him on to quickly regain the number one position in the world rankings. “Last year I lost my number one position in the world rankings. I would love to regain it. By joining a team with a lot of experience and talent, I think we can all perform better. And I can get back to where I belong: at number one.”
Raymond van Barneveld takes new inspiration from this new step in his career. “It has always been a dream for me to play in a team. This is now possible with TOTO Dart Kings, with all those guys fighting for the prizes. That gives me inspiration to do this again. I hope to contribute to the team with my experience. Proud that I can be part of it.”
Van Barneveld then adds: ”Darts is still watched enough and there is still much written about. It still appears in the AD and De Telegraaf and eventually TOTO understood that. It’s come to a good thing and let’s hope it will be a very cool and beautiful three-year cooperation.
The Dutch darts pioneer then explains the added value of operating as a team in an individual sport like darts.
”You can still learn from each other, of course. Of course I have put the sport on the map here, but Michael and Vincent have also done so in a certain way, other things that maybe I have not heard of. Now that you are in one team, you can learn from each other’s strengths and work together on less strong points.
“I think that should be discussed as a team. You have to be able to show to the outside world that you are putting yourself out there for a Triple-A sponsor. That has to be done with as much consultation as possible and in the end it has to come out good and professional.”
After taking a year off, the 55-year-old from The Hague returned to the darts tour in 2021. Van Barneveld drew attention to himself in his return year by winning a ranking championship, his first ranking trophy since 2013.