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Luke Littler takes in New York from open-top bus with girlfriend Eloise, 21, as darts ace prepares to win over America – while rival Luke Humphries proposes to girlfriend over the city skyline

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Luke Littler has been enjoying the life of a tourist in New York before following in the footsteps of some of his heroes by playing at Madison Square Garden this weekend.

The 17-year-old, fresh from winning the Premier League in London last week, has been sightseeing with his girlfriend Eloise Milburn, 21, and parents Lisa and Anthony.

His family went on an open top bus tour around the Big Apple together and also took a Liberty Cruise to see the sights of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty.

And Littler was seen on a Big Bus Tour with fellow darts players Luke Humphries and Peter Wright, posing at the back of the top deck for a photo posted on Instagram.

Meanwhile it was also a memorable trip to the US for Humphries who got engaged to his partner Kayley Jones in a ‘perfect moment’ at The Edge sky deck yesterday.

Luke Littler (centre) was seen on a Big Bus Tour with fellow darts players Luke Humphries (left) and Peter Wright (right), posing at the back of the top deck for a photo posted on Instagram

Luke Littler (centre) was seen on a Big Bus Tour with fellow darts players Luke Humphries (left) and Peter Wright (right), posing at the back of the top deck for a photo posted on Instagram

Darts star Luke Littler, 17, with his girlfriend Eloise Milburn, 21, and parents Lisa and Anthony on a Liberty Cruise to see the sights of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty on Wednesday

Darts star Luke Littler, 17, with his girlfriend Eloise Milburn, 21, and parents Lisa and Anthony on a Liberty Cruise to see the sights of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty on Wednesday

Luke Littler with his girlfriend Eloise Milburn on an open top bus in New York on Wednesday

Luke Littler with his girlfriend Eloise Milburn on an open top bus in New York on Wednesday

Luke Humphries proposes to his partner Kayley Jones at The Edge in New York yesterday

Luke Humphries proposes to his partner Kayley Jones at The Edge in New York yesterday

As for Littler, he is the star of the show at the US Darts Masters in New York – and, as a big boxing and UFC fan, he is thrilled to be playing at Madison Square Garden.

Luke Humphries proposes to his partner Kayley Jones in NYC

Luke Humphries has got engaged to his partner Kayley Jones in a ‘perfect moment’ in New York, after popping the question while in the city.

Humphries, 29, shared the news with his 220,000 followers on Instagram yesterday as he posted four pictures of the moment at The Edge sky deck.

The first two photos showed the moment he proposed, then the third saw the pair pictured kissing and the final snap had Ms Jones admiring the view while looking at her ring.

A delighted Humphries wrote: ‘A moment that I’ve been waiting to do for some time now.. just wanted to wait until that perfect moment!

‘Today was that time. Up the Edge in New York all by ourselves, I popped the question, proud to say Kayley said yes!’

His rival Luke Littler was among those who congratulated Humphries, saying on social media: ‘Congrats mate.’

After announcing his arrival with a record-breaking run to the World Championship final at Christmas, Littler followed it up by winning the Premier League last week and is now one of the most famous sports stars in the UK.

Now, his visit to Manhattan comes as darts promoters try to build momentum and excitement in the US surrounding Littler and the growth of the sport.

‘So many athletes and superstars have performed there and now we’re going to be there. I can’t wait, it’s so exciting,’ said Littler.

‘We just keep going on this rollercoaster journey. We keep travelling to these amazing places like New York and I’m just enjoying the ride at the moment.

‘Darts has gone worldwide. I know the US Masters has been going for quite a few years now and it’s just good to increase the popularity of the sport in the States.’

Littler’s victory in the Premier League at The O2 in London last week saw him become the youngest ever PDC major champion and he is ready to achieve much more.

‘I know there’s still a lot of darts to be played in my career, but I’m just enjoying the experience right now,’ added Littler, who plays Matt Campbell in today’s first round.

‘I’m just taking everything in my stride – from the World Championship to Bahrain, to the European Tour and now the Premier League, I’m just a 17-year-old boy who is enjoying his darts!

‘Maybe in a few years time I’ll look back and see what I achieved as a teenager, but at the minute I’m just focused on what’s ahead.

‘I would love to win everything. That’s probably my goal, to win every major competition in the PDC and then potentially build on that.’

Luke Humphries shared four photos of his proposal to Kayley Jones in New York yesterday

Luke Humphries shared four photos of his proposal to Kayley Jones in New York yesterday

Luke Humphries said the engagement to Kayley Jones was a 'perfect moment' in New York

Luke Humphries said the engagement to Kayley Jones was a ‘perfect moment’ in New York

Luke Humphries posted a picture of Kayley Jones admiring the view while looking at her ring

Luke Humphries posted a picture of Kayley Jones admiring the view while looking at her ring

Under normal circumstances world champion and world number one Humphries would be the star attraction.

Humphries, who lost to Littler in the Premier League final last week, is keen to get back in the winners’ circle.

‘This is a tournament I would love to win,’ he said, having been drawn against Canadian player David Cameron in the opening round.

‘Madison Square Garden is such an iconic venue, so it would be really special to add this title to my mantelpiece.

‘We have a lot to play for over the next two to three months so I want to get back to winning ways and this is the title out of all the World Series events that I’d love to lift.’

Defending champion Michael Van Gerwen plays Danny Lauby, while Michael Smith takes on namesake Jeff and Nathan Aspinall is drawn against Stowe Buntz.

Rob Cross, Peter Wright and Gerwyn Price are also in action.

Luke Littler with the trophy after victory as runner up Luke Humphreys looks on in the final during the Premier League play-off at The O2 in London on May 23

Luke Littler with the trophy after victory as runner up Luke Humphreys looks on in the final during the Premier League play-off at The O2 in London on May 23

Luke Littler celebrates with his parents Anthony Buckley and Lisa Littler at The O2 on May 23

Luke Littler celebrates with his parents Anthony Buckley and Lisa Littler at The O2 on May 23

Also this week, Matchroom president Barry Hearn said the World Championship’s future at Alexandra Palace is ‘under discussion’ because of the ‘Littler effect’ on the sport.

Hearn has likened Littler to Tiger Woods and says he is ‘the gift that keeps on giving’ after bursting onto the scene and taking darts into the mainstream.

Ally Pally has hosted the premier tournament since 2008 and is considered the home of the sport, but the 3,200-capacity venue is limited and tickets sell out in July before even hitting general sale.

Matchroom president Hearn, who is facing a similar dilemma in snooker with the Crucible, is considering extending the size of the tournament, but insists the Professional Darts Corporation is keeping its options open.

‘Do we need to move to a bigger venue? The bigger hall at Ally Pally needs a lot of work done to it but it could handle 6,000 people per session,’ Hearn said.

‘So there is the potential. But the other side of it is the game of darts around the world is getting so huge I actually need to make the World Championship longer.

Luke Littler celebrates with his girlfriend Eloise Milburn after winning at The O2 last week

Luke Littler celebrates with his girlfriend Eloise Milburn after winning at The O2 last week 

‘If I have got eight extra sessions I have got 25,000 more tickets to sell. But inevitably in the end we are going to be looking at what we are going to do.

‘It is one step at a time, I am not a gambler, but sometimes you get a curveball like Luke Littler and you have to rethink your strategy.

‘We reckon we could sell 250,000 tickets for the World Championship and they wouldn’t fit in the Ally Pally.

‘It’s one step at a time, we are looking at the big hall but it needs a lot of work done. We are keeping our options open because we have learned with Luke Littler that you sometimes can’t see what is coming.

‘It’s under discussion with everybody.’

Littler has already transcended the sport, appearing on Saturday night chat shows and high-profile podcasts while also presenting a Brit Award.

Hearn is confident Littler can take darts to ‘another level in the stratosphere’.

Luke Littler watches on after losing to Luke Humphries in the final of the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace in London on January 3

Luke Littler watches on after losing to Luke Humphries in the final of the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace in London on January 3

‘This is going to a level we have not come across before,’ he added.

‘Darts is a massive business, but we have gone to another level in the stratosphere. It’s not a massive surprise but it’s the best 2024 present I could have asked for.

‘I have had broadcasters around the world queuing up, sponsors wanting to see what’s available, reports from future events selling out.

‘Rather than it peter out, it is gaining momentum. I call it now the Luke Littler effect, the gift that keeps on giving.

‘I would compare him to the British version of Tiger Woods. He has his feet on the ground and doesn’t seem to get phased, for a 17-year-old that is just amazing. I just think that darts hasn’t even started in where it is going to go globally.

‘I have been in this business for 50 years and I have never seen anything like this in any sport, it’s as simple as that.’



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