As is customary, the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) crowned the first sporting world champion of the New Year when Michael van Gerwan won his first world championship at London’s Alexandria Palace. The Dutchman travels home with a cool £250,000 along with the coveted Sid Waddell trophy.
The rise in prize money since the inauguration of the PDC has been nothing short of remarkable. When the corporation held its first world championship event at the Circus Tavern, Purfleet, Essex in 1994, the winners cheque was just £16,000, with a total prize fund of £64,000 for the tournament. In fact, the winner’s prize was just half of what was on offered at the rival British Darts Organisation (BDO) World Darts Championship event at the Lakeside Country Club in Surrey, with the BDO also offering a total prize fund of more than £136,000.
A lot has changed since 1994.
The PDC is now the dominant player in the market and, thanks to the stewardship of Barry Hearn, offers prize money far in excess of the BDO’s Lakeside event. The graph below plots the total prize fund at both events since 1994.
The PDC has taken over since 2004. In 2011, the PDC hit the £1 million mark. Last year there was an incredible £742,000 difference in the total prize fund between ther PDC and BDO.
No wonder the likes of Raymond van Barneveld, Simon Whitlock and Mark Webster have all left the BDO in recent years and joined the PDC. It's all about the money.