US Sports Betting Industry Expert
The PGA Tour and bet365 announced that they have come to an agreement on a three-year content and marketing agreement that makes the gaming company an Official Betting Operator. They become the first Official Betting Operator from outside of North America to partner with the Tour.
We are excited to work with bet365 to expand the TOUR’s sports betting initiatives outside of North America (...) bet365 was the first operator to integrate the TOUR’s official in-play betting product and they are poised for tremendous growth being on the forefront of in-play sports betting in golf. The TOUR continues to look for opportunities to innovate in new areas with a goal of engaging with fans.Scott Warfield, Vice President of Gaming at the PGA TOUR
All of the news surrounding the PGA lately is centered around which golfers are defecting to the Saudi Arabian start-up, LIV Golf. Brooks Koepka, an eight-time PGA Tour winner and four-time Major champion, became the latest defector this week. He joins an impressive and growing list that includes Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Dustin Johnson – all Major champions on the PGA Tour.
In a subsequent move, the PGA Tour announced several majors changes to the tour schedule, greatly enhancing the total purse of several tournaments, and introducing revised field sizes among other things. Commissioner Jay Monahan announced the changes via a letter to the players:
“These changes will further strengthen the FedExCup and create a strong, coordinated global schedule,” Monahan wrote, “offering a more compelling product for our players, fans and partners.”
The key thing to note is that both Warfield and Monahan talked in their statements about growing the game of golf and improving the fan experience. Now that they’re facing true competition for the first time, it has forced them to look for ways to set themselves apart as the premier tour in the world.
Partnering with a sportsbook, one that primarily operates globally, is a step toward the future. One of the major ways that people interact with professional sports is through betting; growing betting partnerships helps to strengthen interest in the game and in the Tour overall. Monahan admitted that the PGA Tour can’t compete with LIV golf from just a strictly financial standpoint.
In a press conference conducted prior to this weekend’s tournament – the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut – Monahan addresses the monetary issue head-on, saying, “If this is an arms race, and if the only weapons here are dollar bills, the PGA Tour can’t compete … the PGA Tour, an American institution, can’t compete with a foreign monarchy that is spending billions of dollars in an attempt to buy the game of golf.”
He also took the opportunity to take a shot at the Saudi-backed tour, and the players who have chosen to take massive paydays (Koepka reportedly received a signing bonus of over $100 million).
“On the PGA TOUR, our members compete for the opportunity to add their names to history books, and, yes, significant financial benefits, without having to wrestle with any sort of moral ambiguity,” Monahan said.
Expect the PGA Tour to continue to look for ways to improve its brand in the face of competition. That’s good news for everyone: the players, the fans and the sports bettors. We would expect the Tour to continue to find ways to get sports bettors involved, since they are one of the fastest-growing groups in the world, especially as legalized gambling becomes more and more available.
Written by Dan Zaksheske, our US sports betting industry expert.