The world’s top darts players will compete for record prizemoney of £700,000 at the Betfred World Matchplay in Blackpool next year.
The increase follows the signing of a three-year deal with Betfred as title sponsors for the annual summer spectacular at the Winter Gardens, one of the Professional Darts Corporation’s most prestigious tournaments.
The World Matchplay is the PDC’s second-longest-running tournament, having been staged at the Winter Gardens every year since 1994.
Next year’s event, to be held from July 20-28 and broadcast live on Sky Sports and worldwide, will be the first under a new sponsorship with leading bookmaker Betfred.
Prize money for the tournament will increase by £200,000 from 2018, and will see £150,000 awarded to the winner of the Phil Taylor Trophy, named in honour of the 16-time winner who retired last year.
PDC chairman Barry Hearn said: “I couldn’t be happier to see Betfred involved in one of the biggest in events in the darts calendar.
“The World Matchplay is a tournament loved by players and fans, and it’s brilliant for Betfred to support such a high-profile tournament.
“We had committed to increasing prize money across the PDC circuit, and this announcement of an increase for the Betfred World Matchplay will be followed by more good news for players in the coming weeks!”
Betfred boss Fred Done said: “We have always enjoyed a great working relationship with Barry, so I am delighted to have agreed a deal to link up with him and the PDC to sponsor one of the biggest tournaments in world darts.”
The tournament was won by Gary Anderson this year. Taylor is one of only three players to have won it more than once. Michael van Gerwen and Rod Harrington are two-time winners.
2019 prize fund: Winner £150,000, runner-up £70,000, semi-finalists £50,000, quarter-finalists £25,000, last 16 £15,000, last 32 £10,000.