Due to the nature of the sport, darts is one of the most accessible for those with aspirations of playing professionally. All you need to do is purchase a dartboard and set of darts, and you can be up and running for less than £70 all-in.
Of course, it’s not as easy as simply throwing a few darts and being ready to turn the sport into your profession. Not only do you require natural ability, but also the commitment to practise for several hours each day.
Darts is more popular than ever, and this means there’s more competition for spots in the pro game. Winning a PDC Tour Card is the first stage to making your way into big-time darts. Each January the PDC host a qualifying school for those with the ambition to play on the Professional Darts Circuit. The reward is to earn some of the lucrative prize funds made available within the PDC Darts Tour. However, players of bk8 have also been known to win big playing online games
But is it even worthwhile to play darts at a professional level? What type of financial rewards can be enjoyed?
As you would expect, the bulk of money earnt in darts is through competition prize money. The most rewarding competition in that regard is the PDC World Darts Championship. In 2020, the tournament boasted prize money of £2.5 million in total. £500,000 went to the winner, while at the other end of the scale, £7,500 was rewarded to first-round losers.
Of course, these financial rewards are a rare situation – it’s the world championship, after all. Yet the PDC hosts a wide range of tournaments, both big and small, throughout the year. The issue is the PDC tour is only available to a select group who earn their Tour Cards at the start of the season. For everyone else, they’ll have to play in the WDF or local tournaments – where the money is a fraction of what’s offered by the PDC.
Cash can also be generated in other ways. For the top players, sponsorship deals will always be an additional option, and popular players can also earn a living through exhibition matches.
Now a darts player isn’t going to be appearing on the richest sportsperson list any time soon. With that said, the top players can still earn a large amount of money for their work.
According to the Darts Database, Michael van Gerwen has earned the most prize money since June 2018 until the present day. His total of £2,188,000 eclipses Peter Wright in second, who earned £1,272,750 during the same period.
Yet big money isn’t spread across too many people. If you go down to #50 on the list, Jelle Klassen, he earned £98,750 in prize money. This is spread across two years, so that means he won less than £50,000 annually on average. Take into account the likes of travel expenses and taxes, and the amount is closer to a regular 9-to-5 than you may think.
As mentioned, other factors can come into play. For instance, Fallon Sherrock, who took the darting world by storm earlier this year, is in high demand on the exhibition circuit – even though she didn’t earn a Tour Card. Another example is Phil Taylor. Even though he officially retired from professional darts in 2018, his stature in the sport means he is a popular option for exhibitions across the globe.