THE PDC can announce that London's Alexandra Palace will be the new host for the 2008 Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship - with the prize money for the tournament increasing to £1 million over the next three years.
The sport's biggest event will leave the Circus Tavern following 14 successful years to move to the north London venue this December.
The 2008 tournament, which will again feature 64 players and have an increased prize fund of £600,000 as a result of a new, three-year sponsorship deal with Ladbrokes.com, begins on Monday 17 December.
Play will conclude for the Christmas break on Saturday 22 December before resuming on Boxing Day. The final will be held on Tuesday 1 January 2008, with the semi-finals being played on Sunday 30 December.
The move to Alexandra Palace will see the session capacity for the World Championship increase to over 2,500 fans, giving a total World Championship capacity of 50,000 darts fans.
The increase to £600,000 - up by £68,000 year-on-year - in prize money for the 2008 Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship will be eclipsed in the following two years.
The 2008-2009 tournament will have a £735,000 prize fund and include a new record £125,000 for the winner, and the magical £1 million barrier will be broken in 2009-2010 when the first prize will lift to £200,000.
"This tournament is now firmly established as the biggest and most exciting in darts," said PDC Chairman Barry Hearn.
"The final between Raymond van Barneveld and Phil Taylor is widely acknowledged as one of the finest in the history of the sport and it was seen by a record worldwide audience.
"We could have sold out the Circus Tavern four or five times over for that game, and for most of the sessions during the last couple of World Championships.
"The Circus Tavern has created a unique atmosphere for players and fans and become something of a Mecca for darts supporters around the world - but the simple fact is that we have to move to Alexandra Palace if we are to continue growing.
"There will be the opportunity for greater crowds and this in turn allows us to make the historic increases in prize money over the next three years to take the tournament to the £1 million mark."
Alexandra Palace famously hosted the finals of the News of the World competition until the late 1970s, and it will return to staging high-profile darts events when the Holsten Premier League Darts visits the West Hall on Thursday 26 April.
Hearn added: "Alexandra Palace is one of London's most beautiful and historic buildings, and it also has great darting history after playing host to the old News of the World knockouts.
"I'm sure that it will quickly become a favourite venue for darts enthusiasts looking to see the world's best players battling for the biggest prize in the sport."
The PDC can also confirm that Ladbrokes.com have signed a new, two-year contract to continue as the title sponsor of the PDC World Darts Championship.
"We are delighted to extend our partnership with the Professional Darts Corporation and the World Championship," said Paul Corson, Marketing Director for Ladbrokes.com.
"It is an honour to be associated with darts' flagship tournament and we are greatly excited by the future of this event, both with the move to Alexandra Palace and the increase in prize fund.
"The Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship has gone from strength to strength in recent years and we can't wait for this year's tournament to come around in December."
Tickets for the tournament will go on sale in June.
The Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship Prize Fund for the next three years will be as follows:
|Prelim||£2,500 x4*||£2,500 x4||£4,000 x6|
* The prize fund was increased by £5,000 in May 2007, with four Preliminary Round games being played instead of two.