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MC John McDonald: Butlins Minehead ranks among UK's top PDC darts venues

By This is Somerset  |  Posted: December 03, 2012

  • MC John McDonald shares a joke with Phil Taylor on stage at Butlins Minehead. Photos: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

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Master of Ceremonies John McDonald believes Minehead's Butlins resort has the potential to become one of the country's very best darts venues.

McDonald was the MC for this weekend's Cash Converters Players Championship Finals, which was broadcast live on ITV4 over three days from the Somerset seaside town.

He's travelled the world hosting some of the world's biggest boxing and darts events, but said the facilities at Minehead were up there with the very best.

"The venue was fantastic. It was spectacular," said McDonald.

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"Darts is a special thing because (the venue) could make or break an event. If it's a good arena, it tends to lend a hand to a good show.

"I couldn't believe it when I first walked in. They had turned it in to what I can only describe as the perfect arena.

"Full credit to them, what a facility.

"Everybody had great catering, very good accommodation and beautiful views here.

"It's been fabulous. As far as venues go, I'd put it right up in the top five of all the ones I've ever been to in darts."

The Minehead Butlins arena held 4,000 people for each session during the tournament, which started with the first round matches on Friday afternoon and culminated in last night's final between Phil Taylor and Kim Huybrechts.

Fifteen-time world champion Taylor beat the young Belgian 13-6 to bring a fantastic three days to a close.

Tickets were on sale for a full weekend of darts, including admission to all sessions as well as on-site accommodation for fans.

It all helped generate what McDonald described as an "unbeatable" atmosphere.

"What made it exceptionally good was the fact that it is a captive audience," he said.

"With the crowd, it's all about the continuity. We've had three fabulous days where we've been sold out. They've had a lot of fun, they haven't had to come far and they haven't had to travel home at night.

"For that reason, it's made it exceptionally easy to work with and I think it could well be the way of the future on site like this.

"You're dealing with one of the hottest tickets in sport now. The darts is a fantastic night out.

"They've got all the big guns in. Not just the players, but the likes of myself who have now been drafted in on the darts to try and create a great image, and we do a great job."

Butlins Minehead will host two more top class PDC darts events in 2013, with the first European Tour event heading to the resort on March 8-10.

The Cash Converters Players Championship Finals will also return to the seaside town in 2013, from November 29 to December 1.

McDonald said he was already looking forward to returning, and added:

"Already people are talking about it (the European Tour).

"As far as I'm concerned, Butlins did an amazing job and I have no doubt that, the few creases they would have found, they will have ironed out by the time we come back.

"Can you imagine how good it's going to be then?

"The first time is always a surprise for everybody. What do we expect, what do we do, how does it work? But those questions have all been answered, successfully."

Package tickets for the first European Tour event will be available to book through www.bigweekends.com/darts.


Photos: Cash Converters Players Championship - day three

Photos: Cash Converters Players Championship - day two

Photos: Cash Converters Players Championship - day one

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