How the PGA Tour can expand its audience

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick October 2, 2019 00:11

The PGA Tour isn’t exactly hurting for popularity, with plenty of dedicated golf fanatics tuning in regularly from around the world.

At the same time however, those who aren’t fans already can sometimes be difficult to convert. People who don’t favour golf sometimes wave it off as boring or uninteresting, and are likely to try watching other sports before really diving into a PGA Tour event.

And particularly in the post-Tiger Woods era we’re heading into, it may be harder and harder for the sport to change these people’s minds and rope them in.
For these reasons, we did some thinking about how, using modern fads, tech trends and more, the PGA Tour might just be able to continue expanding its audience in the years ahead.

Image by Tristan Jones

Podcasting from star players

If you’re out of the loop, then the surge in podcast popularity might not be on your radar. But those who listen religiously to the latest instalments of their favourite news, sport, talk show, educational, or comedic podcasts every time they jump in the car are – perhaps ironically – always looking for something new. Podcasting has become a full blend of education, entertainment, and distraction – something people do while driving around town or commuting on subway trains, jogging or lifting weights, or even taking their morning showers. As such, there are never too many podcast options, and sometimes even a well-reviewed, high-quality show on a foreign topic can become someone’s favourite. Thus, many who aren’t necessarily major golf fans may welcome some pod-based discussions on the PGA Tour and golf in general. Interesting episodes featuring star players and/or famous commentators could become major draws, and attract more attention to the sport.

Image by Tristan Jones

More accessible betting

Sports betting isn’t for everyone, but it does help to generate interest, and can sometimes turn a fringe fan into a more enthusiastic one (just like fantasy football can turn a casual observer into an NFL fanatic). PGA Tour betting is available already, to be sure, but by taking more advantage of some modern trends in this industry, professional golf could generate more interest on this front. That might mean latching onto the UK sites’ free-bet options, which are often appealing to beginners. It might mean offering more in the way of “live” or “in-play” betting, such that people can wager on events that are already ongoing. There are all sorts of ways the PGA Tour could partner with betting firms to essentially gameify golf betting.

Image by Tristan Jones

VR viewing

As large as they are tin scope, a lot of professional golf tournaments are inaccessible to the vast majority of fans. The tour travels the globe, meaning it likely only passes by where you live once a year or so – and in some cases, tickets are prohibitively expensive or in short supply anyway. It’s conceivable that this keeps some would-be fans out of the loop. But this may change thanks to virtual reality. VR is being called the next generation of sports media already, and with good reason. Through this technology, anyone can enjoy the best view of any tournament, and get at least some sense of what it’s like to watch pro golfers in person.

Image by Tristan Jones

New golf legends

This isn’t necessarily can idea that anyone can control, but it’s certainly fair to say that new, active legends could bring a surge of popularity to the sport. As mentioned, the era of Tiger Woods is likely coming to a close (even if he won the Masters this year), and there’s no one else who converts non-golf fans like him. But we never know who might be just around the corner, and in fact the last few years from Brooks Koepka suggest that we may already have another legend in our midst. Koepka’s on a run about as impressive as some of Tiger’s own streaks of success, and if he can keep it up he may do more than any tech innovation or betting strategy to boost the PGA Tour.

 

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick October 2, 2019 00:11
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