Every year, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan takes some time out of his schedule during the Sentry Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort in Hawaii to hold a press briefing, providing updates on what’s in store for the year and beyond. As far as sports leagues go, the PGA appears to be ready to embrace anything and everything that can help increase its popularity with fans and, this year, Monahan had a lot to add on the subject, including what’s coming in the way of golf gambling.
Finally PGA Embrace Golf Gambling
Monahan has been leading the PGA Tour for the past three years and is looking to make this year especially memorable. He asserts that the tour is already in a good position to grow and stated yesterday during the press meeting that he wants it “to continue on the path we’re on, and I think we’re on a really good path.”
He added, “If we can continue to attract more fans and engage more fans, and we can help everybody understand not only that our athletes are tremendous golfers but the personalities behind the players … which we’ve put a lot of effort into over the last couple years, I think continuing on that path is going to be really important.”
To help increase interest among fans, and to attract new ones, the PGA Tour is making a significant change this year that was born directly out of numerous complaints it had received. Just like basketball has its shot clock and the NFL has its play clock, the tour is now going to have a “pace-of-play” policy (there have been policies in place for the past several years, but more emphasis is now being placed on the subject).
The PGA Tour Policy Board approved the measure last November and is expected to reveal the complete details in a couple of weeks, but the general idea is to ensure a steady pace of action that will see players receive penalties for dragging out their time behind the club.
Monahan also talked about what’s going on with a new TV deal that’s in the works but, like the pace-of-play topic, didn’t go into a lot of detail. The tour is negotiating new deals with both CBS and NBC that will reportedly cover nine years, and which will see the tour pick up $700 million a year. That’s $300 million more than the current agreement.
“We have more work to do,” Monahan said. “Probably more work than has been suggested. But I’ve been bullish on our prospects before we entered the process, and I’m as, if not more, bullish as we get through it.”
One topic of discussion that is going to be driven home this year is gambling. In the last quarter of 2019, the PGA Tour started working on an agreement with IMG Arena to use ShotLink data and scoring for distribution to sportsbooks across North America. Monahan started building a larger gambling segment from there, approving the presence of gambling at particular events as of November as the PGA continue to embrace gambling.
Now, IMG Arena is going to introduce more tools that will include a mobile gambling application for mobile devices, which is expected to be introduced within the next six months.
The PGA Tour now offers a total of 49 events, one more than was seen in the previous season. This is helping the tour attract new sponsors, some of which are willing to make a longer-term investment. Sentry just signed a ten-year sponsorship agreement for the Tournament of Champions, bringing to 11 the number of companies that have similar agreements – prior to 2013, there were none.
Of this, Monahan asserted, “We’re very fortunate to have great companies that support our tournaments and are making long‑term commitments and the reason that that is so helpful is it’s like any other business. If you think you’ve got three years to plan and you don’t know what happens after three years versus if you have 10 years to plan, you’re going to investment spend, you’re going to be … more aggressive, you’re going to be able to engage your community with confidence and from a position of strength.”
At Sports Intel we think its great that the golf world and the PGA are finally looking to embrace gambling. Betting on golf can be really good fun, and it might even inspire us to add a new golf section to the site.