Could sports betting help boost golf’s popularity?

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick July 31, 2019 04:08

Golf is already a hugely popular sport but industry experts are always looking for new ways to increase the profile of the game.

It has been shown that sports fans are much more likely to watch an event if they are betting on it. So it makes sense to suggest that by engaging with sports fans who like to gamble and by partnering with big hitters in the betting industry, the profile and popularity of the sport can be raised.

Data-driven model

Football is still the number one sport when it comes to global betting statistics. The amount of data and statistics available for the sport is what attracts the betting community. Being able to drill down the numbers and spot trends in different markets gives punters a better chance of yielding a profit and makes them feel more in control. Very few regular bettors just wager on a whim – most like to come to an informed decision after a certain amount of analysis.

Golf is a sport rich in data and statistics and there is no reason it should not attract the kind of attention that tennis gets from the British gambling community. But currently, it is lagging behind and has also suffered from declining TV ratings in recent years. Only when Tiger Woods is contesting at the sharp end of tournaments do casual sports fans really sit up and take notice.

Changing face of betting

Betting has changed in recent years. The arrival of live in-play betting and mobile apps has changed how people bet. The betting and gambling industries have grown in tandem with each other in the digital sphere and they share many similarities such as offering Pay N Play facilities, which is set to usher in a new era of instant gambling without the need for registration.

As a sport, golf is ripe with betting opportunities. With so many players starting each event and so many variables within each hole played, the in-play wagering possibilities are endless. Players can bet on head-to-head contests, individual strokes, putts, distances hit, greens reached in regulation, the number of strokes per hole or round, and end-of-round leaders to name just a few possibilities.

US opens door of opportunity

The 2018 Supreme Court ruling that opened the door to legal sports betting in the US presents an opportunity to increase the profile of golf through wagering and there have already been talks about the best way to take advantage of this. In practice, it will mean more fan engagement via social media and at events, and stronger links with the key players in the betting industry. If the US model is successful, expect the rest of the golfing world to follow.

Also, the key to any future growth will the next generation of players. Tiger Woods has shown that golf needs superstars. It needs players whose presence alone demands the attention of sports fans around the world. And players who can engage with and inspire the next generation of young players. That combined with a new strategy based around making the most of gambling opportunities in the sport could boost the profile of golf to levels never seen before.


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick July 31, 2019 04:08
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