Increase in prize fund for World Darts Championship

Daryl Gurney faces Jamie Lewis on Thursday night.
Daryl Gurney faces Jamie Lewis on Thursday night.

This year’s World Darts Championship will be the most lucrative ever with prizemoney totalling £1.5m - an increase of £250,000 from last year.

The Professional Darts Corporation also confirmed this week that William Hill have signed an extension to their current contract to remain as title sponsors of the William Hill World Darts Championship until 2020.

Following the huge success of William Hill’s first year as the tournament’s title sponsors and the unprecedented expectation ahead of the 2015/16 event, which kicks off at Alexandra Palace on Thursday, the new deal sees the leading betting company extend their commitment to darts’ biggest championship.

The champion this year will lift a top prize of £300,000 with even first round losers assured £10,000.

Northern Ireland hopes lie with Daryl Gurney who has been drawn against Jamie Lewis in the first round on Thursday night while Brendan Dolan faces Kyle Anderson on Friday night.

The 2014/15 William Hill World Darts Championship featured an epic 13-set final between eventual winner Gary Anderson and Phil Taylor, but also broke records for viewing figures with its worldwide TV coverage.

In addition, four million fans watched coverage through the dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel throughout the tournament, with the broadcaster again devoting a channel for the duration of this year’s event.

A record 66,000 tickets have been sold for this year’s tournament, which runs from December 17-January 3, and the £1.5 million event has been given a further boost following the extension of William Hill’s contract.

“William Hill have been great supporters of the PDC in recent years and it’s fantastic that they will remain as title sponsors of the World Darts Championship for at least the next five years,” said PDC Chairman Barry Hearn.

“The tournament has gone from strength to strength in recent years, and with record ticket sales and a record prize fund, the forthcoming William Hill World Darts Championship promises to be the biggest and best ever!

“We look forward to working with William Hill over the coming years to continue that growth for our sport’s greatest event.”

Having seen an additional £250,000 added to this year’s prize fund, the tournament’s prize fund will continue to grow through each year of the William Hill deal to over £2 million in 2020, with £500,000 to the winner.

William Hill Chief Executive Officer James Henderson said: “I’m delighted that we’ve extended our sponsorship with the PDC for a further five years.

“The William Hill World Darts Championship is now one of the highlights of the sporting calendar, and one that takes centre stage over the festive period.”

The 2015/16 William Hill World Darts Championship will take place from December 17-January 3 at London’s Alexandra Palace, and will be broadcast live on the Sky Sports Darts channel.

SCHEDULE OF PLAY

PRELIMINARY & FIRST ROUNDS

(P) Denotes Preliminary Round

Thursday December 17 (7pm-11pm)

Andy Boulton v Per Laursen (P)

Jamie Lewis v Daryl Gurney

Peter Wright v Keegan Brown

Gary Anderson v Boulton/Laursen

Friday December 18

Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm)

Qiang Sun v Mick McGowan (P)

John Henderson v Darren Webster

Justin Pipe v Christian Kist

Mark Webster v Sun/McGowan

Evening Session (7pm-11pm)

Thanawat Gaweenuntawong v Rene Eidams (P)

Brendan Dolan v Kyle Anderson

Kim Huybrechts v David Pallett

Michael van Gerwen v Gaweenuntawong/Eidams

Saturday December 19

Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm)

Kim Viljanen v Sven Groen (P)

Steve Beaton v Koha Kokiri

Ian White v Dimitri Van den Bergh

Kevin Painter v Viljanen/Groen

Evening Session (7pm-11pm)

Keita Ono v Alex Tagarao (P)

Simon Whitlock v Ricky Evans

Vincent van der Voort v Laurence Ryder

Phil Taylor v Ono/Tagarao

Sunday December 20

Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm)

Michael Rasztovits v Rob Szabo (P)

Andy Hamilton v Joe Murnan

Mensur Suljovic v Jermaine Wattimena

Jamie Caven v Rasztovits/Szabo

Evening Session (7pm-11pm)

Aleksandr Oreshkin v Paul Lim (P)

Stephen Bunting v Jyhan Artut

Raymond van Barneveld v Dirk van Duijvenbode

Mervyn King v Oreshkin/Lim

Monday December 21 (7pm-11pm)

Warrick Scheffer v John Michael (P)

Robert Thornton v Alan Norris

Michael Smith v Jeffrey De Zwaan

James Wade v Scheffer/Michael

Tuesday December 22 (7pm-11pm)

Dean Winstanley v Ronny Huybrechts

Wes Newton v Cristo Reyes

Dave Chisnall v Rowby-John Rodriguez

Terry Jenkins v Darin Young

Wednesday December 23 (7pm-11pm)

Andrew Gilding v Gerwyn Price

Benito van de Pas v Max Hopp

Adrian Lewis v Jan Dekker

Jelle Klaasen v Joe Cullen

SECOND ROUND

Saturday December 26 (6pm-10pm)

Whitlock/Evans v Caven/Rasztovits/Szabo

Chisnall/Rodriguez v Pipe/Kist

G Anderson/Boulton/Laursen v J Lewis/Gurney

Sunday December 27

Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm)

Smith/De Zwaan v Beaton/Kokiri

White/Van den Bergh v van de Pas/Hopp

Van der Voort/Ryder v Dolan/K Anderson

Evening Session (7pm-11pm)

van Barneveld/van Duijvenbode v Bunting/Artut

Wade/Scheffer/Michael v Newton/Reyes

van Gerwen/Gaweenuntawong/Eidams v Henderson/D Webster

Monday December 28

Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm)

Thornton/Norris v Hamilton/Murnan

Jenkins/Young v M Webster/Sun/McGowan

K Huybrechts/Pallett v Suljovic/Wattimena

Evening Session (7.30pm-11.30pm)

A Lewis/Dekker v Gilding/Price

Wright/Brown v Winstanley/R Huybrechts

Taylor/Ono/Tagarao v Painter/Viljanen/Groen

Tuesday December 29

Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm)

King/Oreshkin/Lim v Klaasen/Cullen

THIRD ROUND

Smith/De Zwaan/Beaton/Kokiri v White/Van den Bergh/van de Pas/Hopp

Wade/Scheffer/Michael/Newton/Reyes v Whitlock/Evans/Caven/Rasztovits/Szabo

Evening Session (7pm-11pm)

A Lewis/Dekker/Gilding/Price v K Huybrechts/Pallett/Suljovic/Wattimena

G Anderson/Boulton/Laursen/J Lewis/Gurney v van der Voort/Ryder/Dolan/K Anderson

van Gerwen/Gaweenuntawong/Eidams/Henderson/D Webster v van Barneveld/van Duijvenbode/Bunting/Artut

Wednesday December 30 (7pm-11pm)

Wright/Brown/Winstanley/R Huybrechts v Chisnall/Rodriguez/Pipe/Kist

Thornton/Norris/Hamilton/Murnan v Jenkins/Young/M Webster/Sun/McGowan

Taylor/Ono/Taragao/Painter/Viljanen/Groen v King/Oreshkin/Klaasen/Cullen