Every sport has a big event. With darts, that big event is the World Darts Championship. But if you are a new spectator to the sport, there may be some confusion. There are actually official events both labeled the World Darts Championship.

Darts on the professional level has two main organizations (The Professional Darts Corporation and The British Darts Organisation). While each holds several tournaments throughout the year, both have laid claim to the World Darts Championship name. 

This article will cover the larger event of the two, the PDC World Darts Championship.

What Is The World Darts Championship?

The World Darts Championship is the largest professional darts tournament in the world. The championship is run by the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC). The yearly event is held at the Alexandra Palace in London and runs from mid-December to early January.

History Of The World Darts Championship

Scoring professional darts

The PDC World Darts Championship first started in 1994 shortly after the player split from the BDO to form the World Darts Council (WDC), now known as the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC).

At the time the WDC tournament was much smaller than the BDO counterpart. With only 24 players there was a £16,000 payout for top place which is about half of what the BDO winner received at the time.

One smart move the PDC did was to start the world darts championship in December and wrap up in the first few days of January. This meant that even though the event started in 1993 they could label it as the 1994 World Darts Championship.

Because of this early start, the PDC event would be completed and a winner crowned a week before the BDO tournament. While not a horrible blow, this timing definitely took some buzz away from the BDO event.

By 2002 the PDC was gaining traction and the total prize money finally overtook what was being awarded by the BDO. Now the event is nearly a month-long and total prize money is 2.5 million pounds with 500,000 going the winner.

In 2013 the trophy was renamed to the Sid Waddell trophy following the popular commentators Sid Waddell’s death in August 2012.

William Hill World Darts Championship

It is also worth noting that since 2015 William Hill is the main sponsor for the event and it has since been rebranded as the William Hill World Darts Championship. It is still common to use the term PDC World Darts Championship and William Hill World Darts Championship interchangeably.

PDC World Darts Championship Gameplay

The World Darts Championship is set up as a single-elimination standard bracket tournament consisting of 64 players. The game being played is straight in 501. You need 3 legs to win a set and 3 sets to win the bracket.

Who Plays In The World Darts Championship?

The World Darts Championship consists of 96 of the world’s best dart players. The top 32 from the PDC, the top 32 from the Pro Tour (who are not already qualified) and 32 international qualifiers.

The first round is comprised of the 32 players from the Pro Tour Order of Merit and 32 international qualifiers.

The top 32 players from the PDC Order Of Merit are automatically awarded a spot in the second round of the tournament.

When Is The World Darts Championship?

Alexandra Palace in London England

The World Darts Championship starts in the second week of December every year and runs through to the first week of January. Games are held every day with a 3-day break at Christmas (24,25,26) and New Year’s Eve.

Where Is The World Darts Championship?

Since 2008, The World Darts Championship has been held at the Alexandra Palace, an entertainment and sports venue located in London England.

Prior to its current home at the Alexandra Palace, the event was held at the Circus Tavern in Purfleet, Essex, from the first tournament 1994 to 2007.

Where Can You Watch The World Darts Championship?

The best way to watch all of the action of the World Darts Championship live is to subscribe online at the PDC.TV website. However, there are other options. You can often find live PDC streams in dart related facebook groups.  Youtube is also a good place to catch up on any games you might have missed.

If you are looking to catch the William Hill World Darts Championship on traditional broadcast television, this is going to depend on where you live. Here is a break down of who is broadcasting where:

  • Fox – Australia
  • CCTV Madison – China
  • CET 21 (Nova) – Czech Republic & Slovakia
  • Viasat – Scandinavia
  • Fox – Europe
  • DAZN – Germany, Austria, and Switzerland
  • DAZN – USA, Brazil
  • DAZN – Spain
  • DAZN – Italy
  • DAZN – Japan
  • DAZN – Canada
  • Prago Sport – Hungary
  • Sky Network – New Zealand
  • Sport 1 – Germany
  • TVP – Poland
  • RTL – Holland
  • Sportska Televizija – Croatia
  • Syn FH – Iceland
  • Match TV – Russia
  • L’equipe – France
  • TV Play – Baltics
  • GSA Live – Saudi Arabia

What Is The Prize Money For The PDC World Darts Championships?

The total prize money given away for the World Darts Championship is £2,500,000 with a bonus prize of £100,000 to any players who scores two perfect legs (nine-dart finishes).

The actual prize break down is as follows:

Position Prize Money
Fourth round losers£35,000
Third round losers£25,000
Second round losers£15,000
First round losers£7,500

Previous PDC World Darts Championship Winners

The current PDC World Championship title is held by fan-favorite Michael van Gerwen after beating Michael Smith 7–3 in the 2019 finals.

Year Champion Score Runner-up
1994Dennis Priestley6–1Phil Taylor
1995Phil Taylor6–2Rod Harrington
1996Phil Taylor6–4Dennis Priestley
1997Phil Taylor6–3Dennis Priestley
1998Phil Taylor6–0Dennis Priestley
1999Phil Taylor6–2Peter Manley
2000Phil Taylor7–3Dennis Priestley
2001Phil Taylor 7–0John Part
2002Phil Taylor7–0Peter Manley
2003John Part7–6Phil Taylor
2004Phil Taylor7–6Kevin Painter
2005Phil Taylor7–4Mark Dudbridge
2006Phil Taylor7–0Peter Manley
2007Raymond van Barneveld7–6Phil Taylor
2008John Part7–2Kirk Shepherd
2009Phil Taylor7–1Raymond van Barneveld
2010Phil Taylor7–3Australia Simon Whitlock
2011Adrian Lewis7–5Gary Anderson
2012Adrian Lewis7–3Andy Hamilton
2013Phil Taylor7–4Michael van Gerwen
2014Michael van Gerwen7–4Peter Wright
2015Gary Anderson7–6Phil Taylor
2016Gary Anderson7–5Adrian Lewis
2017Michael van Gerwen7–3Gary Anderson
2018Rob Cross7–2Phil Taylor
2019Michael van Gerwen7–3Michael Smith