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Dearth of sponsorship income prompts huge fall in BDO World darts prize money

(Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

A lack of sponsorship revenue has been cited by the British Darts Organisation (BDO) as the reason for the prize money being significantly reduced at its 2020 World Darts Championship event.

The lack of sponsors secured for this year’s event resulted in its winner Wayne Warren being awarded £23,000 (€26,910/$30,000) after his victory in the final on January 12, representing a 77-per-cent decrease on the £100,000 which has been awarded to the champion each year since 2010.

BDO chairman, Jez Jacklin sent a letter to players indicating that the organisation was forced to either reduce the prize fund or cancel the event. The letter, the contents of which have been reported by the BBC, said that sports marketing agency Sportotal had failed to secure the necessary sponsorship revenues.

Sportotal hold a multi-year contract as the exclusive commercial adviser and representative of the BDO.

The 2020 event’s overall prize money was £164,000. In contrast, rival darts organisation, the Professional Darts Corporation paid £500,000 to its 2020 world championship winner Peter Wright.

The news raises more questions over the BDO World Championship’s future. Only 15 per cent of all tickets were sold for this year’s edition, which was another factor contributing to the reduction in prize money.

PDC chairman Barry Hearn recently revealed that he had been unsuccessful with a £2m takeover offer for the BDO.

He accused the organisation of poor management and commercial decisions, telling the BBC: “I’m disappointed to see it because they do have a role to play within grassroots. They are not a major commercial operation but they act as though they think they should be.”

Hearn also failed with a £1m takeover bid in 2009.

The 2020 edition was the first year the tournament had been played at The Indigo, a venue at the O2 complex in London. This represented a move away from the popular Lakeside Country Club in Surrey, where it had been held for 33 years.