William Hill Online haved announced an initial two-year deal with the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) to sponsor the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace in London.The seven-figure deal will see Britain’s biggest bookmaker become the title sponsor of the event – which will now be known as the ‘William Hill World Darts Championship.’
The 72-player tournament, staged by the PDC and broadcast live on Sky Sports, will be held throughout December and January, with play spanning the Christmas and New Year period before the first world champion of 2015 is crowned.
Reigning champion Michael van Gerwen – who defeated Peter Wright on New Year’s Day to lift the Sid Waddell Trophy – is the early favourite with the sponsors to retain his crown, closely followed by 16-time World Champion Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor.
The William Hill World Darts Championship will be the online firm’s second darts sponsorship, following on from their successful three-year sponsorship of the Grand Slam of Darts at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall from 2011-2013.
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.”
Andy Lee, Managing Director of William Hill Online said, “We are delighted to announce our sponsorship of the William Hill World Darts Championship.Our online business has shown strong growth in recent years and we believe sponsorships like this will help us reach new audiences and continue to help us grow.’
PDC Chairman Barry Hearn said: “It gives me great pleasure to welcome William Hill as the new title sponsor for the World Darts Championship.
“Since first being staged in 1993-94, this tournament has grown into the biggest in darts, not only in terms of prize money and stature – with over £1 million paid out in the sport’s richest event – but also with the fantastic crowds who flock to Alexandra Palace every year.With over 50,000 fans attending live and hundreds of millions more watching on Sky Sports and around the world, the William Hill World Darts Championship has an amazing global reach.”
Tickets for the 2015 William Hill World Darts Championship are expected to go on sale in June, with information to be posted atwww.pdc.tv/tickets once finalised.
Hearn added: “We welcomed a record crowd to Alexandra Palace during the 2014 World Championship and have been amazed by the interest we’ve already had from darts-hungry fans who want to secure their seat at this year’s William Hill World Darts Championship.With qualifying events beginning to take shape worldwide, the focus of players is also shifting towards securing their places in what promises to be a special event.”