Par-lay? Future of Live Golf Betting Looks Bright With PGA Tour and PointsBet Deal
Earlier this week, the PGA TOUR and the sports betting operator, PointsBet, announced they were signing a three-year extension to their current content and marketing agreement. The agreement will, among other things, result in the integration of live betting odds onto viewers’ screens for all linear and streaming PGA Tour broadcasts on NBC, GOLF Channel, and Peacock, NBC’s over-the-top streaming service.
The deal will first allow for exclusive PointsBet odds integrations to be displayed on both NBC Universal’s platforms, GOLF Channel and Peacock. The PGA Tour’s press release also said that there are plans to include the live betting odds integrations on NBC’s golf broadcasts in the near future. PointsBet is already NBC’s official sports betting partner, having signed a $500 million deal with NBC Sports last year, so the implantation of PointsBet’s live odds on NBC’s broadcasts should be seamless.
And live odds integration on NBC’s platforms is nothing new – this season, NBC has already integrated sportsbook betting lines into its Football Night in America program and Peacock’s Sunday Night Football Final postgame show. So far, however, NBC has yet to do live odds integration during the broadcasts of the competition itself. That will change when it debuts during its golf coverage.
The PGA Tour’s live betting odds integrations will include such bets as odds for the lowest score by group, total leaderboard odds, and hole-by-hole odds. The PGA Tour says that these integrations will be featured during GOLF Channel’s coverage of the upcoming FedExCup Regular Season. The agreement will also bring about a “free-to-play” game, scheduled to debut earlier next year, which the two entities say “is designed to enhance fan engagement with live in-play games with weekly prizes.” A PGA Tour official told The Wall Street Journal earlier this year that a typical PGA Tour season typically produces around 1.2 million golf shots. That type of statistic is sure to do well with in-play betting.
This news comes on the heels of an experiment conducted at The Fortinet Championship in Napa last month, which was broadcasted on the GOLF Channel and NBC and featured intermittent live odds integration during the weekend, displaying live odds on groups and individual leaders. Following that experiment, NBC Sports and the PGA Tour now seem to be all -in on odds integration.
And viewers can likely expect this type of integration set up to be the norm for golf broadcasts moving forward, if the last several years are any indication. The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Professional Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018 has been gangbusters for professional golf betting. Golf Digest has a weekly gambling podcast, for instance. And The Washington Post reported last year that DraftKings golf handle, as of November 2020, the month of the Masters, had increased tenfold compared to 2019. (It’s no surprise the DraftKings’ logo is displayed so prominently on Bryson DeChambeau’s hat.) And, next week (October 15), sports gambling is about to launch in America’s most golf-rich state: Florida. The future of gambling on professional golf will only continue to get brighter.
John Rigby is an Associate Attorney at Venable LLP in Los Angeles. He is a graduate of the UCLA School of Law and the University of Iowa. He’s broken 100 in golf only once.