Has Luke done too Littler to be in the Premier League?

The darts premier league line-up for 2024 has been announced, and on paper, it is one of the more exciting line-ups in recent memory, in large part thanks to the inclusion of the breakthrough teenager, and 2024 World Championship finalist, Luke ‘The Nuke’ Littler. It is safe to say there is plenty of star power entering this tournament with the likes of former world champions Michael Van Gerwen, Gerwyn Price, Peter Wright, Michael Smith and Rob Cross all joining up with ‘The Nuke’. The 8-man field is completed by Nathan Aspinall who automatically qualified by being ranked within the top 4 in the PDC order or merit, and finally the newly crowned world champion Luke Humphries, who has easily been the best player this past year.

However, the inclusion of some of these stars such as Rob Cross and Peter Wright who haven’t been on the best of runs as of late, has certainly raised some eyebrows. Especially because of a few notable omissions who will feel hard done by to have missed out. Chris Dobey and Joe Cullen are two names that could have quite easily earned a place after both had stellar years, alongside 16th ranked Stephen Bunting, who saw his own surge in popularity during the World championship, with fans backing the ‘let’s go Bunting mental’ movement. Bunting in his own right has played some of his best darts in years over the past 12 months.

To address the elephant, or rather nuke, in the room, does Luke Littler deserve his spot? Well let’s have a look what he achieved this year. As it stands his accolade list is not very long as this was really his breakthrough year. In November of 2023 Luke secured the PDC World Youth Championship by toppling Gian van Veen 6-4 in the final. This secured his place in the PDC World Championship. Luke’s run in the championship to the final was nothing short of remarkable, and had he won the whole thing, it would have been considered an all-time sporting upset. What’s more is the eyes he has bought to the sport of darts. An incredible 4.8 million viewers tuned into watch the all-Luke final, which made it the most watched darts event of all time and the most watched non-football event on Sky. So, we can look at this in two ways; does Littler deserve to be in the premier league based on merit alone? No, probably not. However as far bringing eyeballs and publicity to the sport, I say strap the rocket to him, fuel him with a kebab, and see how far he goes. After all, anyone who’s watched darts knows, especially for the fans, that it’s all about having a bit of fun.

At the end of the day, all sports rely on their superstars in order to stay relevant and to keep fans watching. The PDC have seemingly unearthed a gem in the form of Luke Littler, so they would be silly not to capitalise on his momentum and keep on building him up. With that said, let’s not forget that he can actually shoot darts with the best of them, so don’t be surprised if he is fighting for a spot near the summit of the table come May.

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