Sunday 20 April 2014

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The Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) was initially formed as the World Darts Council, and is now the leading professional body in the sport.

The WDC was formed after 16 top professional players, plus three player managers, decided to break away from the British Darts Organisation at the start of 1993 to take the sport to a new level.

The first staging of the WDC's World Championship was played over the 1993-94 festive period, establishing the partnership with Sky Sports which remains to this day.

The PDC has since built up a reputation as the leading innovator in terms of staging professional darts tournaments, with annual prize money now £5 million and the world's best players competing in PDC tournaments.

Those players include Phil Taylor, the 15-time World Champion, as well as Holland's five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld and three-time World Champion John Part, from Canada.

Matchroom Sport’s initial involvement with the PDC was as exclusive television agents before increasing their stakeholding to become majority shareholders with Barry Hearn as Chairman.

Five major ranking tournaments are staged live each year, broadcasting to a global audience of more than 300 million viewers, and 2005 saw the introduction of the Premier League Darts - a tournament that has since become Britain's biggest indoor sporting event and attracts crowds of up to 12,000.

Other major PDC events include the Grand Slam of Darts competition, which features 32 players who have reached the final of major PDC and BDO tournaments, and the Players Championship Finals tournament, which rewards the leading 32 players from the PDC’s annual non-televised circuit of events.

A further innovation saw the creation of the internet-streamed Championship League Darts in 2008, while the PDC has also staged tournaments in China, South Africa, America and Germany during its drive to expand professional darts globally.

The 2010 World Championship became the first event in the sport's history to offer a £1 million prize fund, with a record £200,000 prize going to the champion Phil Taylor as the PDC broke new ground once again.

The PDC World Cup, a Pairs tournament featuring 24 countries, was first held in 2010 and won by the Netherlands, with England taking the 2012 title as the tournament moved to Germany.

The PDC continues to go from strength to strength with its central aim to ensure the sport receives the recognition and respect professional darts deserves, with both the Qualifying School - where players can win Tour Cards to compete on the PDC circuit full-time - and the introduction of the PDC Unicorn Youth Tour and World Youth Championship guaranteeing a pathway to the top for aspiring stars.

The expansion of the PDC across Europe has led to the introduction in 2012 of the European Tour series of events, which sees five tournaments, each worth £82,100, held in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands to give leading professionals and emerging talents from across the Continent the chance to compete at the top level.

The PDC also work with affiliated organisations for a number of region circuits worldwide, notably the DPA in Australia, SDC in Scandinavia, and in North America, where each region stages a series of ranking events each year which produces qualifiers for the World Championship.

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