Warrington Wolves will continue to work closely with teenage darts sensation Luke Littler following his incredible rise to prominence.
Luke Humphries beat Littler 7-4 at Alexandra Palace on Wednesday night to become world champion for the first time.
Yet Humphries tipped Littler, who has been fast-tracked into darts’ Premier League, to go on and win numerous titles in the coming years.
The final was watched by a total of 4.8m viewers on Sky Sports, with a peak of 3.68million, the largest audience for a non-football event in the broadcaster’s history
Littler’s hometown club Warrington can see mutual benefits in having the 16-year-old as a celebrity fan.
Wolves chief executive Karl Fitzpatrick revealed: “We’ve been working with Luke for probably between 12 and 18 months now, so the relationship has been building for a while.
“I actually dropped Barry Hearn an email round about March last year, when we started doing more stuff with Luke.
“I said ‘you’ve got a young kid in your system here who’s going to be a special talent, keep an eye out for him’.
“Barry replied saying ‘yes, thanks, we know all about him’ so it’s funny how things transpire.
“Luke is a passionate Warrington fan, which is fantastic, and has had some fantastic publicity over the past week or so – and rightly so.
“We’ve been able to capitalise on that because of his links to the club.”
Warrington Wolves throw support behind hometown hero Luke Littler
Warrington players Matty Ashton and Josh Thewlis – as well as the club’s mascot ‘Wolfie’ – were present at Ally Pally to cheer Luke the Nuke through his emphatic semi-final win over Rob Cross.
Fitzpatrick added: “The lads jumped at the chance to go to Ally Pally and these kind of links are really important and something Super League can do more of.
“There are a number of social media influencers who are huge supporters of Super League and we need to use them to put the spotlight on our sport.
“Josh Thewlis and Matty Ashton went down to Ally Pally with our media manager and Wolfie to support Luke in the semi-final.
“Josh and Matty were in awe of Luke but Luke was in awe of them too, so it works both ways.
“Particularly in American sports, they have influencer strategies and that’s something we need to explore more in rugby league.”
As you wish, @LukeTheNuke180 😏
Good luck in tonight’s final! 🎯 pic.twitter.com/naKvCPAcNz
— Warrington Wolves (@WarringtonRLFC) January 3, 2024
Luke the Nuke ‘inspiring’ the local community in Warrington
Sam Burgess and his players also sent good luck messages to Littler on Warrington’s social media channels ahead of his final against Humphries.
“Luke supports Warrington Wolves, comes home and away, so it was important that we showed him our support as he has done for our boys,” explained Fitzpatrick.
“He’s a true, genuine Warrington supporter and is only going to get better as a darts player you would imagine.
“It’s great to have Luke as such a fervent supporter of the club because it’s inspiring for the local community.
“Hopefully kids will be inspired to pick up the darts and start playing because Luke has already achieved so much at the age of just 16.
“The thing I’ve been most impressed with is Luke’s temperament and his resilience.
“Darts is perhaps the ultimate confidence game and to perform like he has on the world’s biggest stage, at such a young age, is incredible really.”