Who Is Luke Littler, The Teen Causing A Buzz In The Pro Darts World?

Darts is a big deal in Britain. As well as hosting the PDC World Darts Championship at the Alexandra Palace in London, Brits make up the vast majority of champions in the sport, which first developed in English pubs in the 19th century. However, it rarely gets the attention it did in January 2024, when Luke Littler — whose name was practically unknown to all but the most hardcore darts enthusiasts — made it to the World Darts Championship at the tender age of 16.

His prodigious run was without precedent, with no teenager before him ever making it to the final. The youngest to make it that far before Littler was 21-year-old Kirk Shepherd in 2008, while the youngest winner, Michael van Gerwen, was a comparatively worldly 24 when he took home the trophy in 2014. As Littler's name splashed across the British newspapers, both darts fans and those with no prior interest in the sport all wanted to find out more about the hottest new name in sports. It emerged that the prodigy was born in Runcorn and raised in Warrington — near the northern English city of Liverpool — and first played darts in a town with a strong darts heritage. Littler comes from humble beginnings, but he had already built himself a large following within the darts community as a result of his constant appearances at tournaments across the country. Being too young to drive, his early career was supported by his parents, who have driven him to darts events.

Video games, fast food, and darts

To all appearances, Luke Littler is just a typical British teenager. He met his girlfriend, Eloise Milburn, through playing the FIFA soccer game on his Xbox. He is a big fan of gaming and has admitted that he often limits his darts practice to half an hour's practice per day so that he has more time to play video games (via The Guardian). He is a big fan of fast food, particularly pizza, which makes up part of his winning diet during tournaments, and kebabs, which are a favorite. After reaching the PDC World Darts Championship, one darts-loving kebab shop in his hometown has offered Littler free kebabs for life.

But along with details of Littler's typical teenage daily routine has emerged an insight into an early life dominated by a love of darts. His sister caused a viral sensation when she uploaded a montage of clips of Littler playing darts as an infant. The first clip reportedly shows him at the age of just 18 months throwing magnetic darts at a board his father bought from a pound shop, a British dollar store. Despite his prodigious talents, Littler had been described as a quiet kid at school — he left at 16 without any qualifications — and a naturally down-to-earth person.

A winner despite defeat

Luke Littler's journey to the final of the PDC World Darts Championship broke records in terms of TV viewing figures for the sport, with millions tuning in to see the 16-year-old throw for a fairytale finish to his impressive run. Unfortunately, the competition proved too tough, with the title going to 28-year-old Luke Humphries, who beat Littler 7-4. Littler estimated that it would take him between five and 10 years to reach the final again, but that winning it remains his focus for the future. "The past three to four weeks have been unbelievable, and now I just can't wait to go home," he said (via Sports Bible). "I'm sorry I couldn't give the crowd what they wanted."

Littler's run has made him a hero and, despite failing to take home the championship, rich. He has made around £200,000 ($250,000) in cash prizes, and he looks set to land plenty of lucrative sponsorship deals. However, he plans to stay humble in terms of his spending — to celebrate, he plans to take his friends for a day out at a theme park. The day after losing out on the PDC Darts World Championship, it was announced that Littler had been selected for the prestigious Premier League Darts, a European darts tour featuring just eight players. He had previously argued that he may have had enough in his schedule already, but it seems like the teenage sensation is stepping up to grasp the opportunity to make another seismic impact on the world stage.