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The PGA Tour became the latest pro sports organization to make a move toward monetizing official data by providing it to US sports betting operators via a new deal announced today.
The world’s top pro golf organization announced an expansion of a deal with IMG Arena to “allow for the distribution of the PGA Tour’s official scoring data to betting operators within North America.”
The news comes even as the PGA Tour is likely involved in lobbying to codify the use of official data via the federal legislation, as reported by Gambling Compliance (paywall).
It also comes on the heels of the NFL signing a betting data deal with Sportradar, which in turn is asking US operators to pay for official data.
The PGA Tour and IMG already signed a deal in November that had a betting component. So, what does this new deal cover? From a press release:
The expanded relationship includes betting sector exclusivity for the delivery of live, shot-by-shot match and event data to global operators.
Live betting — on events and odds while a tournament or game is going on — has been a huge part of the nascent New Jersey sports gambling market, which is now well ahead of all the non-Nevada states in terms of a robust online wagering offer.
“As the sports betting market in the United States evolves, extending our relationship with the PGA Tour is an important next step for IMG Arena,” said Freddie Longe, senior vice president and managing director at IMG Arena.
“For the first time, sports fans will have access to shot-by-shot action, from tournaments all-year-round using official PGA Tour ShotLink data. We continue to feel that golf has the audience, interest and following to become one of the leading in-play betting sports globally.”
It’s worth noting that daily fantasy sports and sports betting company DraftKings has a deal in place — for DFS — that involves ShotLink.
The PGA Tour has hinted at this plan basically since the federal ban on sports betting went away in 2018.
If you’re a US online sports betting operator and you want it, you’ll have to pay for it. However, the product won’t be ready for distribution until early next year.
Like most sports, the value of “official data” from the PGA Tour is in the eye of the beholder. Is direct access to ShotLink data necessary for operators to conduct live betting effectively?
It could certainly help in setting odds but isn’t a dealbreaker if you don’t have it. And the need to have bets based on drive length, club speed is likely a niche offer.
If the PGA Tour doesn’t get enough willing buyers, it will continue to work on lobbying for the inclusion of official data in state laws, as well as through Congress.