PDC launch World Cup
PDC launch new events after BDO turn down merger offer
The PDC have launched an exciting new masterplan for darts, including a World Cup, Under-21 and women's World Championship after the BDO refused to even discuss the prospect of a merger.
Barry Hearn had offered to buy the BDO and promised a £2 million cash injection into the amateur game, with professional darts flourishing as the likes of the Premier League packs out arenas up and down the country.
The new proposals will include a World Cup - screened live on Sky Sports from December 3-5 with 24 competing countries drawn from the PDC's Order of Merit and offering prize money of £150,000.
The PDC's official darts equipment provider Unicorn will sponsor the new £30,000 Under-21 World Championship, which will culminate in the final being played live on Sky Sports at Alexandra Palace before the final of the Ladbrokes.com World Championship.
A PDC Women's World Championship will rival the BDO version, with the finalists fighting it out for the title in front of the Sky Sports cameras in Blackpool ahead of the World Matchplay final in July.
PDC Chairman Barry Hearn commented: "The aim of our offer to the BDO was to unify the sport of darts and this remains our long-term objective despite the decision by the BDO County Associations.
"To turn down £2m without even sitting down with us to discuss the details of our offer is, in my opinion unbelievable, when you consider the poor state of health financially of the amateur game.
"I would like to congratulate the eight counties who voted to at least consider the offer in detail by way of meeting - they have done their membership and the sport of darts proud and can hold their heads high and we are delighted to offer each of those counties one entrant into the 2010 PDC UK Open. Now we move forward with the beginning of a new era for darts.
"The PDC Unicorn Women's World Championship carries prize money of £30,000 plus £10,000 of sponsorship, compared with the Lakeside version of just £12,000 total prize fund.
"The PDC Unicorn Under-21 World Championship carries prize money of £30,000 plus £10,000 of sponsorship, compared with the BDO Teenage Championships prize fund of £2,000 and the World Youth Masters that carries no prize money at all.
"The PDC World Cup carries prize money of £150,000 compared with the WDF version which carries no prize money at all.
"The PDC ProTour in 2011 will see over 35 events with prize money of at least £35,000 with around a dozen weekends offering £70,000-plus in prize money - truly the basis for a proper professional tour.
"We shall continue to drive this great sport forward undismayed by the intransigencies of the amateur game which is built on inept financial management, self interest and mediocrity.
"The future is exciting for all players and I hope today's announcements show that the PDC is a vibrant, efficient and effective body well qualified to take the sport of darts to an entirely new level."
ProTour cards will be on offer for the top four from the BDO Lakeside Championship, which could see more of the top stars moving across to join the PDC ranks.