Land-based and online bookmaker giant, William Hill, will sponsor the World Darts Championship for the next two years.
Sportsbooks are not just giant bullies taking the money from punters and not giving anything back. Apart from paying out considerable amounts in winnings every day, the bookies actually support the sports they take bets on.
While football and horseracing are perhaps the two biggest types of sports enjoying a lot of sponsorship money from betting companies, other sports also get attention. One of the biggest land-based and online sportsbooks in the United Kingdom, William Hill, has just agreed to sponsor the World Darts Championship.
The deal with the Professional Darts Corporation has been signed for two years and will see the bookmaker, operating under the British gambling laws, sponsor the Championship held at Alexandra Palace, London, for the next two years.
The agreement between William Hill and Professional Darts Corporation is a seven-figure deal. It will allow the renowned British bookie to be the title sponsor of the popular darts event. The tournament will from now on be known as “William Hill World Darts Championship.”
William Hill World Darts Championship is the pinnacle of the darts season and has 72 players on its rooster. It’s organized by the Professional Darts Corporation and is broadcasted live on Sky Sports. The event is usually held in December and January, going live on both Christmas and New Year to grab more TV time and crowning the champion in the beginning of each year.
The current champion, Michael van Gerwen, has beaten Peter Wright on New Year’s Day 2014. The reigning owner of the Sid Waddell Trophy has already been named early favorite with the bookies to retain his title in 2015, next in line is 16-time World Champion Phil “the Power” Taylor.
The World Darts Championship will not be the first darts event William Hill has sponsored. The renowned bookies already had a very successful sponsorship run with the Grand Slam of Darts at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall between 2011 and 2013.
This time around, Chief Marketing Officer at Will Hill, Kristof Fahy, had the following comments for the British gambling news: “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.”
William Hill Online managing director, Andy Lee, had the following to add: “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.”
Speaking about the sponsorship agreement, Professional Darts Corporation Chairman, Barry Hearn opined: “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 GBP 1 million paid out in the sport’s richest event – but also with the fantastic crowds who flock to Alexandra Palace every year.”
He added: “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.”
Naturally, the Darts Championship has been held before 1993 as well. In fact, the tourney dates back to 1978, when it also was an annual event. In 1993 professional players have split into two part following some controversy, which has been swept under the rug.
William Hill to sponsor darts championship
• Renowned online sportsbook in the UK will put its name next to World Darts Championship
• The bookie has agreed a two-year deal with the Professional Darts Corporation
• They will become the title sponsor in a seven-figure agreement
Currently there are two organizations: the British Darts Organisation and the Professional Darts Corporation, each hosting its own World Championship in January. This means that there’s no unified world champ. Phil Taylor is the most accomplished player, having won 16 titles in total: 2 with the British Darts Organisation, and 14 with the Professional Darts Corporation. Naturally, he’s considered to be the best darts player to walk the Earth.
British Darts Organisation world champs were held at the Heart of the Midlands nightclub, Nottingham, later moving to the Jollees Cabaret Club in Stoke. Since 1985 their version of the championship has been hosted at the Lakeside Leisure Complex at Frimley Green in Surrey.
As for the Professional Darts Corporation, their version of the tournament commenced in 1994 right after the split. The first event was held at Purfleet’s Circus Tavern in Essex, but has moved to Alexandra Palace in 2008 and is being held there since.