If you thought cricket, football, tennis or golf are the most popular and paying sports in the world, this piece of news will compel you to change that notion. This is about a non-mainstream sport that is offering as lucrative a prize purse as the sports disciplines considered to be highly rewarding.
Michael van Gerwen. This name doesn’t ring a bell for most of us but he on the first day of the New Year took home a cheque of ₹4.3 crore for being crowned the World Dart Champion.
Yes dart is giving its world champion one of the biggest pay cheques for any sport. Not only this, total prize money for this event was more than ₹ 20 crores. The event was broadcasted world-wide along with Sky Sports in UK and Ireland. The 2019 PDC World Darts Championship prize was a purse for any dart event across the world and comparable with the prize money of any sporting property globally.
Traditionally seen as a working-class pub sport, the last quarter of century has seen the PDC grow darts into a multi-million dollar empire across the UK and Europe. Now each year, more than 80,000 fans gather at London’s Alexandra Palace over the last two weeks of December and into January for a fortnight of darts and a party at its crown jewel event, the World Darts Championship.
Darts grew a large television following through the 1970s and 80s in the UK, making players like Eric Bristow and Jocky Wilson household names with their fame comparable to football icons of their ear.
DARTS ON TV
MANY Professional Darts Corporation events can be watched live through our series of broadcast partners both in the UK and worldwide. The PDC’s relationship with Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland sees the following tournaments broadcast live each year:
> William Hill World Darts Championship
> Unibet Premier League
> Betway World Cup of Darts
> BetVictor World Matchplay
> Unibet World Grand Prix
> bwin Grand Slam of Darts
Coverage of the World Darts Championship is live on the dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel. PDC tournaments like The Unibet Masters, Coral UK Open, Unibet European Championship, Players Championship Finals, the World Series of Darts’ international events and season-ending World Series of Darts Finals are also broadcast by ITV4 throughout the UK.
In 2016, the Unibet Champions League of Darts was introduced to the calendar and broadcast live on BBC Sport across two days.
In addition, PDC tournaments are also usually shown worldwide through the following broadcasters:
> RTL7 – Netherlands
> Sport1/DAZN – Germany
> Fox Sports – Australia
> Sky – New Zealand
> Nova – Czech Republic & Slovakia
> Pragosport – Hungary
> Viasat – Norway, Denmark, Bulgaria & Baltic States
> OSN – Middle East & North Africa
> Kwese – Africa
The legend in the sport by Phil “The Power” Taylor had won 14 world titles with the PDC and 16 in total, before retiring in 2018. His supremacy added to a growth in viewing figures and led to more investment from broadcasters. UK pay-television broadcaster Sky Sports’ live coverage of the event increased in 2018 by 30% to over 110 hours for the World Championship.
The majority of PDC events take place in Europe and primarily in the U.K., Germany and the Netherlands, but it continues to explore new places to popularize the sport. The past few years have even seen tournaments as far away as Las Vegas, Dubai and Shanghai.
In June 2018 at the German Masters, held in the Veltens Arena in Gelsenkirchen, accounted for a world record crowd of 20,210 for the one-day event.
UK-based bookmaker William Hill’s has extended its title sponsorship of the PDC World Darts Championship until 2022. The bookmaker has sponsored the event since 2014. Gambling is a prominent feature of the darts experience, with William Hill establishing its own pop-up shop ready to take bets in the fans village, as well as regularly updating in-play odds on big screens throughout the evening in the main arena.