Sky Sports has agreed a new rights deal with the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) that will take their partnership into its 25th year.
Under the new five-year rights deal, Sky Sports viewers will get over 50 days of live and exclusive darts throughout the year, including the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship each Christmas until 2018.
Viewers will also be able to enjoy live coverage of the McCoy’s Premier League, PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix, William Hill Grand Slam of Darts, Betfair World Cup of Darts and the Betfair World Matchplay.
Sky Sports and Barry Hearn’s PDC first partnered two decades ago for the inaugural PDC World Darts Championship in 1994.
Live televised darts has since grown from just a few hundred fans at venues such as the Circus Tavern to over 10,000 people attending the O2 Arena for the Premier League.
The World Championships now offers £1 million in prize money, and over £5 million is paid out annually in prizes on the PDC circuit.
Sky Sports managing director Barney Francis said that the satellite broadcaster has helped build darts “from working men’s clubs to some of the biggest arenas in the UK and Ireland”.
He added: “This is a real success story and an excellent long-term partnership [with the PDC].
“Our live coverage and promotion of darts is unique and Sky Sports viewers can enjoy the fantastic atmosphere that these events generate for a further five years.”
PDC chairman Barry Hearn added: “We’ve just celebrated our 20th World Championship with the best tournament ever staged, and both that event and the current McCoy’s Premier League Darts show how far the sport has come in the past two decades.
“Sky Sports has played an integral part in the growth of darts, with its innovative and high-quality broadcasts and fundamental support of the PDC, and we are delighted to sign this new broadcast contract.
“This deal is not only great for the PDC but also for our players, who will be playing in huge events live on Sky Sports in the coming years.”