William Hill has reaffirmed its commitment as title sponsor of the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) World Championship, as the Alexandra Palace held showpiece undergoes record breaking expansion.
Extending its contract with darts flagship tournament through to 2022, an increased field of 96 competitors are to battle it out for its largest ever prize pot of £2.5m, which will see the 2018/19 champion scoop £500,000 and the prestigious Sid Waddell Trophy.
Grant Williams, Managing Director of William Hill Online, said: “We’re delighted to extend our sponsorship of the World Darts Championship.
“We have a great relationship with Barry Hearn and his team at the PDC and we’re thrilled to continue this partnership until at least 2022.”
An increase of 24 additional players is to see opportunities to compete extended to a plethora of international qualifiers, whilst female players will also be afforded the same opportunity to earn their place at the William Hill World Darts Championship.
At least two of the 96 spots will be taken up by female players, via a UK or rest of the world qualifier, as they aim to emulate previous competitors Gayl King and Anastasia Dobromyslova, as well as China’s Momo Zhou who participated in last weekend’s World Cup of Darts.
Sky Sports is to also increase its coverage by 30 per cent, which will result in over 110 hours of live coverage being broadcast.
Barry Hearn, PDC Chairman, commented: “The William Hill World Darts Championship has become a phenomenon in worldwide sport given its incredible growth in recent years, but this announcement takes the tournament to a whole new level.
“The backing of our sponsors William Hill and worldwide broadcasters led by Sky Sports has been matched by the incredible interest from fans who flock to Alexandra Palace every Christmas and watch around the globe.”
Adding: “Combined with the leading professional talents in darts, rising stars from around the world and new faces who win through the qualifiers, this promises to be an incredible tournament and a feast of festive darts for fans either at Ally Pally or watching the tournament later this year.”