PRIZE MONEY in Professional Darts Corporation events will rise to £11.2 million (approx. $22 Million) in 2017 as the circuit continues to grow to a record level, with PDC Chairman Barry Hearn also announcing a 12-month freeze on ticket prices from next summer.
The PDC's remarkable growth over the past decade has seen prize money rise from around £2 million in 2006 to five times that amount during 2016 - and is set to continue next year with another series of prize fund boosts.
The William Hill World Darts Championship will continue its progression in prize money to £1.8 million for the 2017/2018 tournament, with a record £400,000 to the winner - up from this year's £350,000 first prize.
The Betway Premier League will also increase from £725,000 in prize money to £825,000, with £250,000 on offer to the eventual champion, while the BetVictor World Matchplay will feature a £500,000 prize fund with £115,000 to the champion.
The Coral UK Open, Grand Slam of Darts, Players Championship Finals, Ladbrokes World Series of Darts Finals and Betway World Cup of Darts will also benefit from increased prize funds next year.
In addition, prize money for European Tour events increases to £135,000 per tournament, with a further two events being held next year, while two further Players Championship tournaments will also take place in 2017 and both the PDC Unicorn Development Tour and Challenge Tour will expand to 20 tournaments each.
A £60,000 prize fund will be on offer in each of six international World Series of Darts events next year, which include the inaugural U.S. Darts Masters at the Tropicana Casino Hotel Resort in July.
The record £11.2 million total also includes nine-dart finish bonuses at televised events as well as contributions which the PDC makes to affiliated tours worldwide to aid the global development of the sport.
PDC Chairman Barry Hearn has also announced that ticket prices for PDC televised events in the UK & Ireland will be frozen for a 12-month period, starting from the forthcoming announcement for World Matchplay tickets but also to include the Champions League of Darts, World Grand Prix, Grand Slam of Darts, World Series of Darts Finals, 2017/2018 World Championship, 2018 Masters and 2018 Premier League.
"This is announcement has two great Christmas presents!" said Hearn. "My first Christmas present is to the players; having delivered excellence they've got every right to be rewarded like never before.
"I said two years ago that my dream was to get to £10 million - I'm scrapping that now and going for £20 million, and we will get there!
"In 40 years of working in sport, this has been the most satisfying period. We've got ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and darts in many ways is working man's golf, where ability is the only barrier to success.
"The good news for the players is that we're going to change their lives through the sport of darts if they've got the ability.
"My second is to the most important people behind the players, the fans. The good news for them is that we're freezing all our ticket prices from the World Matchplay onwards in all UK & Ireland PDC-promoted events.
"Our sponsors and TV partners are so happy with the entertainment we're providing them that they're all paying more money so it's only right and proper that the fans, who got us here in the first place, get the benefit of that."