The Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) has announced a 40 per cent increase in prize money for the World Darts Championship and revealed plans to expand the showpiece event on the back of the 2017-18 edition, which concluded on New Year’s Day.
The 2017-18 World Championship saw 68,000 fans from around the world attend London's Alexandra Palace throughout the 15 days of action. Rob Cross became the eventual world champion as he landed a £400,000 (€454,000/$538,000) pay out – the highest individual prize in the sport’s history – by defeating Phil Taylor in the final.
Next year's total prize money will increase by £700,000 from £1.8m to £2.5m, while the winner's cheque goes up by £100,000 to £500,000. The PDC said it will confirm an expanded field for the World Championship later this year, which will include more global qualifying tournaments in an effort to continue the growth of the game around the world.
“This year's William Hill World Darts Championship was the biggest and most successful in the sport's history,” PDC chairman Barry Hearn said. “We were treated to thrilling matches throughout and the event exceeded all of our expectations with record TV ratings being reported globally and a new champion being crowned in Rob Cross.
“Rob epitomises the PDC structure which gives opportunities for all players of ability without any barriers to entry. For Rob to go from competing on our Challenge Tour to being world champion in just a year is an incredible story and one that will inspire ambitious players worldwide to achieve their dreams.”
Monday’s final garnered record television ratings in Germany, where a peak audience of 2.7 million people watched the final, while 1.4 million watched the Sky Sports broadcast in the UK.
Going into the tournament, UK pay-television broadcaster Sky confirmed a new seven-year contract with the PDC, running from 2018-19 to 2024-25, while the World Championship will remain at Alexandra Palace following the completion of a new contract with the host venue to cover the 2018-19 and 2019-20 events.