Bettors tuning into last weekend’s broadcast of the PGA Tour’s CJ Cup were met with a new feature as Golf Channel’s telecast displayed the tournament’s latest betting information. The new wrinkle is the latest push by the Tour to integrate their betting partnerships into golf’s weekly broadcasts.
Although viewers were treated to segments highlighting line changes just two times per hour, the move ushers in a new era of sports viewing.
PGA Tour Uses BetMGM for First Betting-Centric Telecast
The Tour’s leadership used the CJ Cup, held in Las Vegas, to launch their new business model to create engagement with bettors and fans. With the tourney hosted by the Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas, the Tour leaned on their new partnership with BetMGM. Shadow Creek’s founder is Steve Wynn, legendary casino magnate.
Two months ago, BetMGM inked a multi-year deal with the PGA Tour to become their Official Betting Operator. The agreement allowed BetMGM to expand their golf offerings to bettors including live wagering.
“Being the first sports betting platform to integrate betting odds into a live PGA TOUR telecast speaks to the innovative nature of our partnership,” said Matt Prevost, BetMGM Chief Marketing Officer.
BetMGM’s live odds on the tournament flashed comparisons of opening and current lines every 30 minutes. The broadcast also included a golfer’s advanced stats giving bettors more information to craft their wagers.
BetMGM leads the pack with sponsorship deals with several of the Tour’s best players. Kevin Na, Ryan Moore, Boo Weekly, and Jimmy Walker all feature the company’s logo on their bag and apparel.
PGA Tour’s Sports Betting Future
While sports betting adoption has stalled in the era of coronavirus, 23 states either have passed bills or legalized wagering. With states such as California, Florida, and Texas yet to adopt legislation, leagues continue to jockey for awareness.
The PGA Tour has positioned themselves in the market with high-profile partnerships with BetMGM, PointsBet, FanDuel, and DraftKings. Each agreement provides exclusive marketing opportunities with the gaming companies.
“The focus of our sports betting partnerships is to engage fans in new and creative ways,” said Norb Gambuzza, the SVP of the PGA Tour.
With television ratings for all sports continuing to hemorrhage viewers, leagues have changed their reluctant stance toward the betting world. For the PGA Tour, embracing betting is a calculated move to maintain viewers during a crowded sports schedule.
The Tour’s relationship with betting establishments has caused grumblings among golf’s superstars. Rory McIlroy, a four-time major winner, recently expressed concern about the Tour cozying up to sports betting.
“What is going to happen is you will see more of this heckling stuff because there are going to be those who have bet against you and the guy you are playing with.” McIlroy said. “They’re going to want to try and alter the result because they will potentially either make or lose money from it.”
Don’t Expect to See Live Odds on the Masters Broadcast
With the Masters moving to November due to the pandemic, golf fans will see the latest major tournament in decades. But for those eager to lay some action on the Masters, don’t expect live odds on the CBS broadcast.
The leadership at Augusta National own full control over what is shown on the telecast. Everything from announcers to commercials are under the thumb of the higher-ups that run the Masters tournament.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that betting companies won’t roll out the red carpet for Masters bettors. Expect to see attractive bonuses and hundreds of prop bets for the prestigious tournament to lure new and existing customers.
Even though the Masters might not play along, the PGA Tour’s embrace of sports betting is here to stay.