Category Archives: Board Room News

Red Dragon Player Launch 2021

​Red Dragon has fired the final shot in the annual ‘Launch Season’ for the major darts brands. Using the World Championships, and their ability to launch later than mainly retail brands, as a launchpad. This will enable them to take full advantage of producing a fourth World Champion in the last two years!

The Welsh company has long been an innovator within the darts industry and they have again blindsided many rivals with the short timeline for the debut of Peter Wright’s latest model (The World Champion SE tapered) which was available for pre-order within 3 days of makings its Ally Pally debut. 

Today’s fuller launch includes player and RD branded dart models and well as a range of new accessories for those hoping to get back to normal darts in 2021. Darts World asked us to react to the live launch earlier this month:

“And the New, Champion of the Wooooorld….”

Gerwyn Price – Blue Ice

A variation on Gerwen’s signature darts which might temp those who like a classic shape but feel the need for more grip.

” There is something of a classic underpinning to these. But with a seriously muscular looking exterior!”

“If you fancied @Gezzyprice‘s dart but wanted more grip these could be the one…”

Meanwhile the former champion still packs a commercial punch

Three new versions of Peter’s World Championship winning dart hit the stand today, shop here:

The Torpedo, The Diamond, and The Tapered.

These were a real surprise, there has been no great advance in this shaped dart outside of Phil Taylor’s for a long time.

“Clever use of one of the classic barrel shapes given a new lease of life. Adding @snakebitewright flair & @reddragondarts grip tech gives the best of both worlds”.

​ You have to love this idea, two of Red Dragon’s best moments of recent years combined in one set of arrows. Diamond fusion grip is outstanding.

“ Combining the outstanding Diamon Fusion grip with the original design of the World Championship SE could prove a masterstroke.” 

Again the fusion of two such popular and successful Peter Wright elements is a seriously smart move.

” These set folk talking when Peter gave it a debut at Ally Pally, it looks a great combination of his popular PL15 and the title-winning SE”

“Many will have to try this version, just so tempting……”

Red Dragon’s other Big Guns:

Johnny’s Be Good!

With Clayton winning events in each of the last four years and now claiming a huge title with Gerwyn Price it will be interesting to see if he kicks on again.


” The Clayton dart is a really effective design, this edition really improves its styling….”

” Jonny’s dart could suit a wide variety of payer, perhaps they may be tempted now?”

Wes Harms 2021

“ This is a really distinguished take on a pedigree dart. A wide range of throwers can get benefit from them……”

“The even, consistent grip offers great continuity and ease of use”

Jamie Hughes SE

“Jamie’s dart is a variation on a legendary barrel but with finer cut grip below the ID blank. But, with the SE grip, there is even less fuss than usual!”

“Simplicity can be beautiful”

Scott Baker – The Mod (Diamond)

“ Scott’s 21st-century Priestley style dart has been a long time in the making. But, with the Element 6 style diamond grip we can’t wait to get our hand on a set for test purposes”.

There was plenty more action over at Red Dragon over the course of the day. More dart models, clothing and accessories have been released over the past few hours. You can browse and buy the 2021 range here.



We will be looking, with our friends at Darts World, at the non-player and premium lines separately. Keep an eye on our social media or over at dartsworld.com

Winmau Launch 2020/21

Being last, of the major brands, to launch their new range is a tradition at Winmau. Their retail pedigree means that they synchronise the launch in order to provide their retail channels with maximum new products for the Christmas and January peaks.

This year sees the Welsh firm lead from the front with a selection of products from their lead player Michael Van Gerwen before moving on to their other marquee names:

Vantage:

This premium model is clearly inspired by MVGs general barrel design but given the premium touches they ensure a great first impression. They have also eliminated some of the less popular features of Michael’s standard dart.

Vantage feature sections of a ‘VA’ shaped grip and gold plated highlights. The black and green styling of the Adrenalin model is adopted again for this striking variation on the MVG theme.

Assault:

This looks a more traditional dart but with MVG grip locations and branding. The onyx coating is gain present but paired with non coated bands and deep cut grooves to give an impression of a very aggressive grip.

The MVG green, black and silver styling with plenty of branding points ensures that, although a different style of dart, Assault willlook part of the family.

New weights have been added to Adrenalin, Ambition and Absolute models. All in all the MVG range goes from strength to strength.

Joe Cullen:

Joe has got to off to a nice start with Winmau and they look like a good match. His recent form is nicely timed for his signature dart launch and these are a definite forward development.

The front and rear sections are similar to his usual model but the gentle scallop in the mid section adds an element of element of exactitude not previously obvious. The Red and black colour scheme coordinates with much of Joe’s branding. Overall it’s a more subtle and less aggressive model. A sign of maturing confidence?

Mark Webster (Diamond):

These look a nice development of Webby’s second signature dart. Two new sections of Winmau’s unique diamond fusion grip have been added. This may increase the range of players willing to give this classic shaped dart a try. It’s striking looking and could suit any type of throw.

Merv King:

Even the most optimistic at Winmau would not have expected these to be launched at quite such a peak of interest in The King! Merv’s superb run to the final of the Players Championship Finals has given his profile a huge boost.

It is not shock that the shape of this new edition is the classic Bamboo pattern that has proved so successful for its most famed user. However the added grip within the curved sections looks a technical masterstroke. Taking an old tech dart and making it look both new and modern is a fine effort.

Ted Hankey:

A couple of years back Ted finally added some real grip to his signature shaped dart. The black and red styling also helped introduce the dart to a wider audience. The latest edition celebrates 20 years since The Cou ta inaugural World Championship and the gold section seems appropriate. With a fine ring grip and black onyx coated front area a very striking edition is compete.

There are new and revamped models for Scott Mitchell, Jeff Smith, Willie O Conner and Steve Brown as well as another adaptation of the evergreen Steve Beaton design.

Non Player Ranges:

The excellent Sicario range has been expanded and it is good to see the cluster grip given more opportunity. Fury, Electra and Zinati have been added to the catalogue and bring a dash of simplicity, colour and style respectively.

A select group of accessories brought the launch to a close. A funky pocket flight store and additions to the Pro Line range of premium accessories in the form of a board surround and cabinet.

This is a very strong launch for Winmau. 2020 may have been a terrible year for many but the signing of MVG and then the return to form of King have bookended an excellent performance. They have moved from a legacy brand, who looked jaded and old, to the sharpest and most focused of the leading darts brands.

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Checkout Winmau.com for the full range.

BoardRoom News: Player Beware.

Boardroom News would like to make players aware of a disturbing new habit within certain sectors of our business. All aspiring tour/professional players should view any sponsorship offer with close scrutiny and even a little skepticism.  

The more unscrupulous element of our industry is approaching players who may just have reached the second rank or be approaching the level where they may get attention from the bigger names. These players are then offered a form of equipment only sponsorship deal, that may prove attractive at that point in their career. 

Plenty of branded accessories, clothing, or other items are offered, thus the deal looks attractive and may be tempting. But there may be another element to such offers. On more than one occasion recently players have been offered a very limited barrel deal, 2-6 sets of their own darts, on a very short-term basis. 

Closer scrutiny leads us to believe that there may be a subtle attempt to obtain intellectual property (IP) rights via the back door. Player’s designs or even those of the company that manufactured an original dart can be copied and then re used after the new player’s deal has expired. 

It would be difficult for one brand to claim infringement if the new company could show the product was designed and marketed for another player. The player finds themselves without an equipment supplier and having to purchase their own designed/labeled darts within a year, while the company gains a sought-after design for minimal cost. 

A recent example went like this: Player A, who used a ‘legendary player’ barrel, was offered such a deal out of the blue. A design was then produced which was a copy of the original (with a couple of cosmetic changes). The prospective sponsor was very keen to ensure both soft tip and steel were included, even though the player had no interest in the soft tip arena.  

However, the player was only experimenting with that barrel and requested that the design was changed to his preferred style and shape. The deal was instantly withdrawn and further discussion refused. 

AIM: has seen the written details of this process and is deeply concerned. We have witnessed a second, although less clear cut, example, and a third is ongoing. 

Whilst we value the benefits of sponsorship and accept that differing levels ensure more players benefit, and more models are made, we feel that players must be fully aware of the motives and possibilities behind these ‘sponsorships’.  

We strongly suggest that any such sudden unexplained offer is looked over by an independent third party who can provide an objective assessment of any such ‘small print’.  

Unexplained laughs? Check Your flies. Unexplained Offers? Check the clauses!


Words: JR Lott (Originally appeared in Darts World Magazine 571)

Boardroom News: Unicorn Opens 2021 Launch Season.

The Boardroom recently previewed ‘Launch Season’ for the darts industry and what it might mean for players, customers, and the companies themselves. It seems Unicorn will be the first to break cover with at least part of their 2021 product launch coming on September 4th.

The ‘grand old man‘ of darts brands is trying to achieve two ends with this move. They will be first out of the traps and, somewhat like at an audition, first or last are thought to stick in the mind of the judges (in this case the buying public). With the success of Dimitri van den Bergh at the Matchplay, they will look to capitalise on a huge boost of brand awareness.

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In addition, it appears that Unicorn may have shrewdly chosen to coincide some, or all, of their launch with the upsurge in darting activity, and television coverage, that September seems to be bringing. This also applies to some European and Global markets.

The social media teaser that was dropped out yesterday does not give much away, other than the model that may be getting additions and or a revamp.

A side benefit of launch season, and this lockdown, is that room needs to be made for new stock. This leads to clearance offers both direct from manufacturers and their retail stockists. Keep an eye at for a review of some of the best bargains for those not driven by the latest fashion.


Originally for Darts World Magazine/ dartsworld.com August 2020