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Luke Littler: Teenage sensation tipped to win millions after World Darts Championship final heartbreak

Luke Littler: Teenage sensation tipped to win millions after World Darts Championship final heartbreak

Darts prodigy Luke Littler is on course to make millions despite his heartbreaking defeat in the world championship final — as his family said they were “unbelievably proud of his achievements”.

The 16-year-old from Warrington captured the imagination of the public with his fairytale run to the final but fell just short, losing 7-4 to world No1 Luke Humphries in a gripping contest at Alexandra Palace on Wednesday night.

But experts predicted the teenager, who won £200,000 as runner-up, could now make a fortune in sponsorship deals and endorsements.

Neil Hopkins, strategy partner at advertising agency M&C Saatchi, told the Sun that Littler could easily command six-figure sums.

Sports marketing consultant Dan Tunna added: “Luke is a generational darts talent and he’s already achieved remarkable things. If he is at the summit of the darts world for 20 years, he could be well on the way to amassing a £40 million fortune.”

Luke Littler's girlfriend appeared close to tears as she watched him finish runners-up in an epic final (IMAGO/Ian Stephen / Avalon)
Luke Littler's girlfriend appeared close to tears as she watched him finish runners-up in an epic final (IMAGO/Ian Stephen / Avalon)

The teenager, known as Luke the Nuke, says he plans to spend his winnings on a new coat and virtual currency for football video game EA Sports FC. He was supported at the final by his family and beauty consultant girlfriend Eloise Milburn, 21, who looked close to tears.

His sister Caitlin Littler paid tribute on social media. She wrote: “He’s an incredible talent... he’s going to win plenty I’m sure. Absolutely unreal.

“You went into this only wanting to win one game, to then make it to the final on your debut at 16 is the biggest achievement! We all love you so much, now time to chill and enjoy yourself.”

His management firm ZXF said: “Take a bow Luke The Nuke Littler. Runner-up in the world darts championship at the age of 16, you may not have walked away with that trophy but you have just changed the landscape of darts.”

Luke Littler with champion Luke Humphreys (AP)
Luke Littler with champion Luke Humphreys (AP)

After his victory Humphries, 28, paid tribute to his young rival. “I could not put into words how great this feels,” he said. “In the back of my mind throughout today, I was thinking ‘get this one now because he’s going to dominate world darts soon’. He’s an incredible player.

“When I was on the brink of winning there, he was relentless.

“He’s an incredible talent and I had to win this one tonight — he is going to win plenty,

"I am sure.”

Humphries added that he will “never forget” becoming PDC world champion and world No 1 following mental health struggles. He has previously spoken about the anxiety that affected him on and off the oche that almost led to him quitting the sport.

James Maddison pictured during the final (PA)
James Maddison pictured during the final (PA)

Tottenham star James Maddison and Romeo Beckham were among those watching the drama at Alexandra Palace. Darts fan Maddison, whose goal celebration is based on the sport, invited the teenager into his box for his team’s match against Bournemouth last week.