Launching a new PGA Tour website and app with betting-friendly features is just one of the latest moves by professional sports organizations to strengthen ties with bookmakers.
The golf-loving users of online sports betting sites may have a friend in the PGA Tour.
Indeed, the new app and website the professional-golf organization began rolling out last week will have several gambling-friendly features for the legal sports betting community, including a way to smoothly transition from checking scores to placing wagers.
Asked what there will be for people who like to bet on golf, the PGA Tour’s vice president of product development, Eric Hanson, framed the efforts so far as a “research and development exercise” of sorts.
One early finding of that exercise is the desire for continuity. The tour has been hearing from bettors and fantasy players that they’d like their apps to work in sync, making it easier to see how wagers and lineups are faring using the tour’s digital platforms.
“Because a lot of fans want the in-depth shot tracking and the in-depth play-by-play that we provide with the PGA Tour app,” Hanson said in a recent interview with Covers. “And they really want it to be kind of a sleek, seamless connection between the two platforms. So that’s our goal.”
The new PGA TOUR app is here.
Update your app today to experience the redesign.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) November 15, 2022
The work to smoothly bridge that gap between betting apps and the tour’s platforms is underway.
Nevertheless, there will be opportunities to go in the other direction. Namely, the new PGA Tour app and website will present users with live odds during an event (which will happen by default on the website), showing what the books are currently offering for any given golfer to win.
Users in legal betting states can click on those odds and will then be taken to either bet365 or BetMGM, depending on where they live. Once there, they can place a wager.
“There’s a big overlap in a fan who’s heavy into daily fantasy or gambling with a fan who’s just really hyper-interested in the PGA Tour,” Hanson said.
Everybody’s doing it
The betting-focused moves by the PGA Tour are just the latest steps taken by a professional sports organization to strengthen ties with the sports-wagering industry.
While leagues once opposed the spread of legal sports betting, fearing it would undermine the integrity of events, those same leagues are now attracting eyeballs and raking in sponsorship dollars because of deals with sportsbook operators.
Several such deals have been struck with the PGA Tour as well, including with bet365 and BetMGM. BetMGM, for instance, was named in December 2021 as the exclusive odds provider for the leaderboard and player pages on the tour’s website.
“The PGA TOUR has been a fantastic partner and we look forward to continuing our relationship,” BetMGM Chief Revenue Officer Matt Prevost said in a press release at the time. “In the last year we’ve seen an increase in our players betting on golf and are excited to now be the exclusive odds provider for PGATOUR.COM.”
More info, faster
The PGA Tour said that it would start unveiling its new website and app to fans on November 15, to be followed by a more formal launch in the New Year at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
In making the announcement, the tour said it was a “fresh start,” as everything had been rebuilt, including the technology, “which means bringing the TOUR’s unrivaled data and statistics to you faster than ever.”
The tour also said it would be adding more features in the coming months, including some related to streaming and gaming, so they’d be accessible using a single platform. But by overhauling the technology behind the digital platforms, fans and bettors will now get updates much quicker, which is a must for fans of in-play betting.
Hanson said that if someone now watches a PGA Tour event on TV, and sees a ball land in the fairway, that information will be on the app within five seconds or so.
“We have dramatically sped up the shot-tracking data coming into our fan-facing platforms,” he told Covers.
A(nother) game of inches
On the stats side, the PGA Tour has been pushed not just by fans, but by its players, for both more and better.
For example, Hanson said that there will be visualizations of strokes-gained data for players, giving users a clearer understanding of how a golfer is trending. And, when viewing the leaderboard of a tournament, a user will be able to turn their phone horizontally to reveal more than just a player’s score, including a live tally of the strokes they are gaining on the competition off the tee or on the greens.
There will be the potential for more push notifications, too, but those notifications will provide deeper insight than just a birdie or bogey made on the course, such as a player making a birdie and moving into the top 10 of an event.
“Golf is a game of inches, so we know that when it comes to loading speeds, even the smallest margins can make a significant difference,” the PGA Tour said last week. “You’ll be able to see a Rory McIlroy highlight moments after it happens, relive Scottie Scheffler’s round through an Instagram-style story or use statistics to gain insights into the success of your favorite player.”