Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) chairman Barry Hearn has said the organisation is sitting on a £10m (€12.5m/$15.6m) “nest egg” as part of a move that could support an increase in prize money and wider global expansion plans.
Speaking to UK newspaper the Express, Hearn said that although the organisation is already in “tip-top” shape, the nest egg will offer additional financial support as the sport steps up to the next level.
“I believe darts is only just beginning and there is another level to go to,” Hearn said. “The perception of the game is changing globally. We have the Tokyo Masters this year, which will be a huge event and it is financed by very wealthy people in Japan who just love darts. And this time (for the World Championship) we have had our own channel on (UK pay-television broadcaster) Sky.”
Hearn was speaking following the 2015 PDC World Darts Championship, which concluded at Alexandra Palace in London yesterday (Sunday). Gary Anderson triumphed over Phil Taylor in the final to clinch the top prize of £250,000, but Hearn said this figure could increase further as the sports continues to grow.
“I thought one day that maybe we could get to £10m but I think I can smash £10m very soon and I am looking at £20m in prize money,” Hearn said.
“We have five-year contracts with Sky, five years with (UK commercial broadcaster) ITV and we don’t have a major event through 2015 without a sponsor. We are in tip-top shape and we have £10m in the bank, a nest egg in case things go wrong.
“We can withstand sudden things. I have seen it with snooker – suddenly if they say no more gambling sponsors, that will not affect us while we have the funds.”
Hearn also serves as chairman of the World Snooker global governing body and is confident that darts can achieve similar success as snooker in profitable Asian markets.
“The dream would be to do a job with darts like we have done with snooker in China,” Hearn said. “Forty per cent of the prize money on the snooker circuit comes out of China and that has such capabilities. But Tokyo is right up there. It is a global sport.”