How much do dart players make?

How much do dart players make?

Alex Moss |

How much do darts players make

Ever wondered how much money do dart players make? The Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) is the leading circuit for professionals to play on and earn money, with around £15 million on offer across the various tournaments held around the world each year.

In January 2024, a teenage sensation by the name of Luke Littler pocketed a life-changing £200,000 for his run to the final of the PDC World Darts Championship. At the age of just 16, many darts fans have started to wonder how much is Luke Littler worth, as his stardom and success on and off the oche continues to grow.

In this blog we will answer the question how much do dart players make, including how much do world champion darts players make, such as Luke Humphries, Michael Smith and Peter Wright – the three most recent winners of the most lucrative darts event – the PDC World Darts Championship.

How do professional darts players make their money?

There are different ways that pro darts players make their money, from tournament prize money to sponsorships and endorsements, along with exhibitions and personal appearances and even from the sale of their own merchandise. Many of the world’s top players will have their own darts range, which includes their signature darts and other accessories that darts fans and budding players can buy. For example, the Gary Anderson collection, from Unicorn Darts, features a wide range of darts as well as a selection of dart flights and dart cases.

The spectrum of income streams has broadened over the years, which makes it difficult to answer exactly how much do darts players make as sponsorship and exhibition rates vary from player to player. But what we can still monitor is a player’s net worth based on prize money won in professional tournaments – a figure which has grown rapidly over the years. In 1978, Leighton Rees took home £3,000 for winning the very first edition of the World Darts Championship, which had a total prize fund of £10,500. Fast forward almost 50 years and Luke Humphries pocketed £500,000 for winning the 2024 PDC World Darts Championship, and from a total prize pot of £2.5 million.

What does it cost to be a darts player?

It is easy to look at how much do professional dart players make and assume they all live a life of luxury. As of May 2024, the world number one Luke Humphries has accumulated an eye-watering £1,541,000 in prize money from ranking events, which excludes the Premier League and World Series events. However, there are several additional costs involved with being a professional darts player that cut into those large cheques that players take home after winning the big competitions.

Just like with any other job, dart players have to pay tax and those who earn more than £125,400 in a year will give 45% of their winnings to HMRC. Players will be taxed on any prize money won at tournaments, with HMRC ‘jokingly’ reminding Luke Littler after his run to the World Championship final of this. The HMRC Press Office Twitter account posted: ‘Big congrats to Luke on his fantastic run to the final. We can confirm the existence of income tax.’

Players on the professional circuit will often have a manager or a management company to help arrange travel, accommodation, and exhibition bookings. A manager will often also handle entering players into tournaments and generally making a player’s life easier, so they can focus on just playing darts. Paying out for a manager/management company to support you will also add to the running costs, with managers also likely to take a cut of any earnings from prize money won and sponsorship deals and exhibition work carried out (somewhere in the region of 5-20%).

To compete on the PDC circuit, all players must be a member of the PDPA (Professional Dart Players Association). A full membership for the season costs £500 plus a £75 fee which goes to the DRA (Darts Regulation Authority). On top of this, all players are subject to a 2% levy on any prize money won at PDC events.

Luke Littler

Luke Littler Net Worth

The 2024 PDC World Darts Championship runner-up Luke Littler has quickly emerged as one of the most famous players on the planet. ‘The Nuke’ wrote his name in the record books as the youngest player to reach the final at Alexandra Palace, losing out 7-4 in sets to Luke Humphries in the decider on his debut appearance at the age of just 16.

That run in the sport’s biggest tournament saw Littler pocket £200,000 in prize money, and his fame and net worth has continued to rise at an astronomical rate ever since. After turning 17 in January 2024, Littler embarked on his first season on the professional circuit where he has already racked up several titles, including the Belgian Darts Open and Austrian Darts Open, both worth £30,000 each. His title in Austria saw his career earnings reach £382,537 (via PDPA).

In April 2024, the teenager was included in the Forbes 30 Under 30 List, a group of people aged 30 or below who are excelling in their area of expertise. In an interview with the Daily Mirror, darts legend Bobby George said about Littler: “He can become the richest player ever. He’s got the talent and he’s at the top of the world now in darts.”

Luke Humphries

Luke Humphries Net Worth

Luke Humphries sits at the top of the rankings after his title success at the PDC World Darts Championship in January 2024. His victory against the teenager Luke Littler in the final saw ‘Cool Hand’ pocket £500,000 and saw him replace Michael Smith at the top of the PDC Order of Merit.

Humphries has banked in excess of £1.5 million in ranking money over the last two years, with the Englishman enjoying a recent trophy-laden spell in the PDC, winning the World Grand Prix, Grand Slam of Darts and Players Championship Finals in the last three months of 2023, all major events that boast a winner’s prize of more than £100,000 each.

As of May 2024, his career prize money haul stands at £2,094,725 (via PDPA), but it has not been a straight path to the top and earning millions of pounds a year for Humphries. His first taste of the PDC was playing on the Development Tour as a youngster, where he won £225 from 16 events across 2011 to 2012. The Newbury ace took a break from the sport shortly after that before returning 18 months later, helping out a friend when his Super League team was a player short. The rest is history.

Michael van Gerwen

Michael van Gerwen Net Worth

Michael van Gerwen has amassed a staggering £11 million in career prize money from professional events, a figure very few, if any, players can come close to. The Dutchman has won every major title there is to win in the PDC and on multiple occasions, including three World Darts Championships, seven Premier Leagues and three World Matchplays.

Van Gerwen’s first major triumph in the PDC came in 2012, when he won the World Grand Prix which pocketed him £100,000. His largest single prize money payday came at the 2019 PDC World Darts Championship, as he claimed his third world title and banked a cool £500,000. His record seventh Premier League title win in 2023 saw him earn £275,000.

Van Gerwen spent seven years at the top of the rankings, between 2014 and 2021, in a dominant spell that saw him win countless major titles and rack up millions in career earnings from prize money alone. The ever-growing prize money in the PDC means van Gerwen sits in second spot on the PDC Order of Merit, behind the 2024 PDC world champion Luke Humphries. As of May 2024, ‘Mighty Mike’ has in excess of £1 million on his ranking, which is based solely on ranking prize money won during the last two years. 

Michael Smith

Michael Smith Net Worth

The 2023 PDC world champion Michael Smith has won millions of pounds in prize money over the years, with his biggest paydays coming during the 2022-23 season. ‘Bully Boy’ broke his major duck when he won the 2022 Grand Slam of Darts, a title which earned him £150,000, plus an extra £3,500 for finishing top of his group.

The St Helens ace continued his rise just six weeks later when he won the 2023 PDC World Darts Championship. Smith defeated Michael van Gerwen 7-4 in the final to become the first player to win both the PDC’s world youth and senior world titles. That triumph at Alexandra Palace saw Smith pocket £500,000 and took him to the top of the world rankings.

Smith started playing on the PDC circuit in 2009, making his major debut in the UK Open that year then at the age of just 18. He is likely to pass the £4 million mark for career prize money earnings during 2024 (currently £3.8 million as of May 2024), whilst his two major titles from the 2022-23 season sees him boast more than £1 million next to his name on the current PDC Order of Merit.

Nathan Aspinall

Nathan Aspinall Net Worth

Nathan Aspinall is one of the most popular players in the world and is closing in on £2 million in career prize money earnings, a far cry from the position he was in back in September 2018. ‘The Asp’ went into a Players Championship event in Barnsley with only £20 to his name, but won the title that day, which was worth £10,000, and has never looked back.

In an interview with the PDC, Aspinall said: “I had £20. I had absolutely nothing. I had no money, £20 to my name and I turned up to this event and it was last chance saloon. Everything went well that day. I won it, I won £10,000 and that was the start of a new mindset and a new Nathan. The confidence I had after that win was unbelievable.”

Just three months after that maiden ProTour title, Aspinall made the semi-finals of the 2019 PDC World Darts Championship. A debut run at Alexandra Palace which earned him £100,000 and was followed by a first major title at the 2019 UK Open, where he won the final against Rob Cross with a 170 finish. The Stockport star doubled his major tally with success at the 2023 World Matchplay, a title worth £200,000. As of May 2024, Aspinall has pocketed £1.8 million in prize money during his career in the PDC, with £620,500 on his current ranking from prize money won in ranked events over the last two years.

Gerwyn Price

Gerwyn Price Net Worth

Former rugby player turned darts professional Gerwyn Price has collected more than £4 million in career prize money playing on the PDC tour. ‘The Iceman’ won his tour card at Q-School at the start of 2014 and just four years later he was celebrating as the first player from Wales to become a PDC major champion.

Price banked £241,000 for his two Grand Slam of Darts triumphs in 2018 and 2019, before going on to win the sport’s most lucrative tournament, the PDC World Darts Championship, in 2021. Despite the competition being played behind closed doors with no crowd apart from the opening night, Price still took home £500,000 for winning the title, which also propelled him to the top of the world rankings.

Away from the oche, he spends his money by investing into property, as well as greyhound racing. After winning his first world title, Price told the Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad: “I already have some real estate and with this amount (£500,000) I can also do some nice things. I can buy one or two houses. I think that’s a good investment for the future.” As of May 2024, Price currently has £610,750 and sits in fifth place on the PDC Order of Merit, an impressive amount considering it does not include a major winner’s cheque from the last two years. 

Rob Cross

Rob Cross Net Worth

Rob Cross is set to pass the £3 million mark in career prize money during 2024 – just eight years after quitting his job as an electrician to become a full-time professional darts player. The rags to riches tale of ‘Voltage’ saw him get a taste of the big time in 2016, when he won through one of the Riley’s qualifiers to play in the UK Open, a PDC major event, where he reached the last 32 and pocketed £3,000.

He then won three titles on the PDC Challenge Tour which earned him a tour card to play on the professional tour in 2017. It was a debut year to remember for Cross, who capped off his first season on the tour by winning the PDC World Darts Championship, beating Phil Taylor 7-2 in the final to scoop the £400,000 top prize at Alexandra Palace.

The Hastings man has gone on to win three more major titles, picking up the World Matchplay in 2019, along with two European Championship crowns in 2019 and 2021 to take his career earnings to £2.8 million (via PDPA). As of May 2024, he sits in sixth place on the PDC Order of Merit having won £591,250 in ranking events over the last two years.

Dave Chisnall

Dave Chisnall Net Worth

Multi-time major finalist Dave Chisnall is on course to break the £3 million mark in career prize money won in the PDC in 2024. ‘Chizzy’ has been a regular in the big TV events for more than a decade now, having made the jump from the BDO to join the professional ranks in the PDC in 2011.

A run to the final of the 2010 BDO World Darts Championship saw Chisnall pocket £30,000, whilst his biggest paydays have come in the PDC, as he has appeared in six major finals and spent four years playing in the lucrative Premier League. A semi-final appearance in the 2015 Premier League earned Chisnall £75,000, a figure surpassed in 2021 when he took home £100,000 for his run to the semi-finals of the PDC World Darts Championship.

As of May 2024, Chisnall has won £2.8 million in career prize money in the PDC (via PDPA), whilst he has £503,750 on the PDC Order of Merit, based on ranking money won from the last two years alone. This includes three European Tour title wins from 2023, which each earned him £30,000 on his ranking, and a quarter-final run at the World Darts Championship in 2024, worth £50,000.

Peter Wright

Peter Wright Net Worth

From being unemployed to earning millions of pounds playing darts, it has been quite the journey for Peter Wright to reach the top of the darting world. The two-time PDC world champion is one of the game’s most recognizable players, with his colored Mohican haircut and colorful outfits, but it has not always been a smooth path to the top.

In an interview with the Diss Express in 2015, ‘Snakebite’ revealed how he spent several years with no job and could not afford to enter darts competitions. He said: “I couldn’t find a job. I was unemployed and didn’t have time to play darts. It was really tough and I couldn’t afford to go to competitions by the time you’ve paid for electric, food and everything else. People might say I’m up there now, but I was unemployed for 4-5 years and I’ve lived on £14 a week or for two weeks. That’s why I don’t change as a person, because I’m grounded, and I never will change.”

In 2008, Wright looked to ignite his career as he played on the PDC circuit but ended up banking just £1,200 over the entire season. The Scot’s perseverance saw him start to rise through the ranks, with his big breakthrough coming at the 2014 PDC World Darts Championship, where he reached the final and took home a life-changing £100,000. Over the next decade Wright has won close to 50 titles in the PDC, earning him £5.8 million (via PDPA) in career prize money earnings. His most profitable season came in 2021-22, when he won close to £900,000 in ranking money, which included victories in the World Matchplay (£150,000) and World Darts Championship (£500,000). As of May 2024, he has won £496,500 in ranking events during the last two years.

Dimitri Van den Bergh

Dimitri Van den Bergh Net Worth

Multi-time major winner Dimitri Van den Bergh is closing in on £2 million career earnings in PDC events. ‘The Dream Maker’ doubled his major tally in March 2024 with a victory at the UK Open, which saw him net £110,000 in ranking prize money. As of May 2024, the Belgian has won £1.7 million in career prize money since he first joined the PDC tour back in 2014.

Van den Bergh’s major breakthrough came during lockdown when he won the 2020 World Matchplay on his debut. The popular summer event, which is usually held at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, took place behind closed doors and with no crowd, but he still took home £150,000 for lifting the title. That success earned Van den Bergh a call-up to the Premier League in 2021, where he finished just outside the play-off spots in fifth place and bagged £70,000 for his season’s work.

Van den Bergh has been a mainstay in the world’s top 16 over the last five years, with his current ranking position of ninth on the PDC Order of Merit at the end of April 2024. He has won £494,000 in the last two years in ranking money alone, with his career earnings boosted by victories on the World Series of Darts and back-to-back PDC World Youth Championships.

Josh Rock

Josh Rock Darts

The 2023 PDC world youth champion Josh Rock is on course to pass the £500,000 mark in career earnings from professional events during 2024. ‘Rocky’ burst onto the darts scene in 2022 when he won his first tour card at Q-School and shot to fame with a nine-dart leg in the Grand Slam of Darts.

The Northern Irishman won a Players Championship title during his first year on the ProTour, before capping off his debut season as a professional with a run to the last 16 of the PDC World Darts Championship, which earned him £35,000 in ranking money. A few weeks before his first Alexandra Palace campaign, Rock won the World Youth Championship, a title worth £10,000, and he won in style with a 104.13 average in the final – a record for the highest average in a world youth final.

He broke further ground in 2023 when he reached his maiden major quarter-final, at the Grand Slam of Darts, which saw him pocket £28,500 and move closer to the top 16 in the world rankings. It was Rock’s second biggest payday behind his last 16 run at the World Championship the previous year. As of May 2024, he has won £342,500 in the last two years in ranking events, which sees him sit in 19th place on the PDC Order of Merit.

Are the top darts stars really living a life of luxury?

Whilst there are some big numbers mentioned in this blog, these figures are often relating to players who have won World Championships and other major titles. For many players lower down the rankings or just starting out on the professional tour they will be juggling full-time or part-time jobs along with playing darts.

It takes years and years of sacrifices and dedication to reach the pinnacle in darts, and as seen in this blog it is not always a straight path to the top. Some of the sport’s biggest stars have overcome setbacks and difficult times on the oche to achieve their darting dreams, which shows any player with ambitions in the game what is possible with lots of hard work and determination. Read our ‘How To Become A Darts Pro’ blog for an in-depth look at the different routes available for players to become a professional.

Pictures: PDC

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