The Professional Darts Corporation (PDC), the organizer of top-tier events in that sport, will hold its first televised women’s tournament in the UK on July 24.
The PDC, in partnership with UK pay-television heavyweight Sky Sports (which has an agreement to show top-tier PDC action until 2025), will stage an eight-player Women’s World Matchplay tournament in Blackpool, with a total prize pool of £25,000 ($33,000) on offer, and the entire event due to be covered by Sky.
This will mark the first occasion on which a women-only tournament has been given mainstream TV coverage.
The tournament will take place over the course of a single afternoon session, and the winner will qualify for the 2022 Grand Slam of Darts.
Although the financial commitment made by the PDC for that tournament brings its total spending in women’s darts for the year to £125,000 ($169,000), this is still dwarfed by what it has put into men’s darts. The professional PDC circuit this year has a total prize money pool available of over £15 million ($20.3 million).
Matt Porter, the PDC’s chief executive, said: “We have expanded our commitment to women's darts in recent years following the introduction of the PDC Women's Series, and we feel that the time is right to give these players a televised tournament.”
The PDC has seen interest in, and exposure of, women's darts rise significantly across the last three years.
In December 2019, Fallon Sharrock became the first-ever woman to win a match at the PDC World Championships and last year followed that up by becoming the first woman to reach the quarter-final of a major darts tournament, at the Grand Slam of Darts.
Earlier this week, meanwhile, the PDC entered into a five-year sponsorship deal with dartboard manufacturer Winmau, which will now serve as an official equipment provider of the organization.
This will see Winmau’s Blade 6 Triple Core dartboard used at all PDC events until 2027, including the European Tour, Players Championships, Challenge Tour, Development Tour, and Women’s Series.
Winmau takes over the sponsorship role from long-time partner Unicorn, which announced in late January that it would not renew its 25-year-long partnership with the PDC.
Winmau joins the organization’s extensive sponsorship portfolio, which includes Betfred, Just Eat, Cazoo, Ladbrokes, and Toyo Tires.