The 2015 William Hill World Darts Championship will feature a record £1,250,000 prize fund and be played from December 18-January 4 at Alexandra Palace in London.
The sport’s biggest tournament has been boosted further this year with an increase of £200,000 to the prize fund – going up from the £1,050,000 paid out at London’s Alexandra Palace last year.
While the first prize remains at an unrivalled £250,000 for the champion, prize money throughout the remainder of the tournament – which is televised live on Sky Sports HD – has been increased.
The runner-up at Alexandra Palace will take home £120,000, with the semi-finalists earning £60,000 each, the quarter-finalists taking home £35,000, the third round losers winning £18,000, the second round losers earning £12,000, the first round losers picking up £8,000 and the preliminary round losers winning £3,500.
The William Hill World Championship will again feature 72 players from around the world, with 16 International Qualifiers competing in the preliminary round for the right to join the sport’s top names in the first round proper.
This year’s tournament will begin on Thursday December 18 and progress over the Christmas and New Year period before concluding with the final on Sunday January 4, with tickets set to go on sale next week.
PDC Chairman Barry Hearn said: “We committed to increasing prize money across all of our major tournaments this year and the announcement of this new prize fund for the William Hill World Championship completes over £500,000 investment in the biggest televised events in darts.
“This wouldn’t be possible without the support of our partners and sponsors, and in this case we welcome William Hill as our new title sponsors for the World Championship.
“This tournament has enjoyed incredible growth over the past ten years, including our move to Alexandra Palace, and through our partnership with William Hill we can only see the event continuing to grow further.”
Kristof Fahy, Chief Marketing Officer at William Hill, said: “The World Darts Championship is a great addition to our brand sponsorship portfolio.
“It’s a great fit; the UK’s biggest bookmaker and the biggest event in darts – the William Hill World Darts Championship.”
The PDC’s first World Championship, held in 1993-94 at the Circus Tavern in Essex, had a total prize fund of £64,000 with £16,000 to the champion, but the expansion of the PDC circuit means that £7 million will be paid out to players this year.
Reigning World Champion Michael van Gerwen – the 6/4 sponsors’ favourite to win the William Hill World darts Championship – said: “This is fantastic news for the tournament and also for all the players who qualify to play at Alexandra Palace.
“Darts has really grown over the last few years and we now have a circuit of major tournaments around the world, but the tournament that everyone targets is the World Championship.
“The news of William Hill’s sponsorship and the announcement of the dates and prize money increase has made me really excited to get back to Alexandra Palace to defend my title.”
Tickets for the William Hill World Darts Championship will go on Priority Sale on Monday June 16 and on General Sale on Monday June 23, with 50,000 tickets available for 14 days of play across the Christmas and New Year period.
The tournament will kick off with the preliminary and first rounds being held across six days ahead of the Christmas break, with the second round and third round taking place from December 27-30.
The World Championship resumes on New Year’s Day with the first of two nights of quarter-final action, with the semi-finals on Saturday January 3 and the final taking place on Sunday January 4.
Hearn added: “We enjoyed record ticket sales for the 2014 World Championship and following the incredible success of this year’s Premier League Darts event, which welcomed over 100,000 fans across 16 weeks, we expect to see unprecedented demand for tickets over the next six months.
“The William Hill World Championship has become a key part of the festive period for sports fans around the world, who flock to Alexandra Palace to see the sport’s best players live.
“The excitement created by our stars last year, notably Michael van Gerwen and Peter Wright as they won through to the final, created amazing interest in darts and showed why this event is the hottest ticket in British sport right now!”
Tickets will initially go on Priority Sale to LIVEPDC.TV Annual Subscribers on Monday June 16 (10am), before going on General Sale on Monday June 23 (10am) through SeeTickets, either online at pdc.seetickets.com or via 0844 871 8807.
William Hill World Darts Championship
New Prize Fund
Third Round Losers £18,000
Second Round Losers £12,000
First Round Losers £8,000
Preliminary Round Losers £3,500