The Professional Golf Association (PGA) Tour has decided to sell its live data feed information and shot tracking system to bookmakers outside the United States. The deal the PGA Tour made was with a newly formed sports betting unit of longtime sports and entertainment. It is expected that the deal will be revenue generating for both the Tour and IMG.
The PGA Tour
The PGA Tour began as a group of men who wanted to distinguish themselves from club professionals in golf clubs throughout the United States. The men also wanted to be distinguished from amateurs in the college ranks that were playing for colleges. In the 1920s, professional golfers who earned the money needed their own organization to help manage tournaments. Currently, the PGA operates several different leagues, professional and developmental, around the world. However, the Tour does not operate the largest championship tournaments in the United States: the Masters Tournament, the U.S. Open, the Open Championship, and the PGA Championship. It is also not responsible for the Ryder Cup.
IMG Sports and Entertainment
IMG was founded by a lawyer in 1960 that spotted the potential for professional athletes to make money off the field doing product endorsements. He began by signing professional golfers to endorse all kinds of products. Some of the most famous golfers of the time were clients of the company: Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, and Jack Nicklaus. The company moved into media in the 1980s, and continued sports marketing and sports broadcasting. The media wing of the company distributes over 30,000 hours of broadcast content from 200 different events. The sports include college level football and basketball, as well as cycling, golf and soccer.
Earlier this year, IMG created a new spinoff company, IMG Arena, to handle sports analytics and data for sports betting purposes. The new company will have the ability to package and market data from different sports to sportsbooks. IMG has said that with the growing popularity of sports gambling in the United States, it is time to jump into the market. This is especially true as more and more states get into sports gambling with legislation.
The Data Sale
Under the terms of the agreement with IMG, the Tour will sell its proprietary feeds, especially the shot tracking feeds, and the data feed to IMG. IMG will then be allowed to use the feeds for 10 years. The company especially wanted the use of the Tour’s proprietary ShotLink software. This software, which revolutionized golf data, is able to track multiple data points, such as the angle of the shot, ball speed, and how many times the golfer has made that particular shot. With the technology, sportsbooks can use the data to set odds for individual golfers for Tour play, as well as odds for the tournament in general. The data would also allow sportsbooks to give wagerers a way to bet during the tournament as well.
While the agreement between the PGA Tour and IMG is for data for sportsbooks outside the United States, the PGA Tour said it is continuing to negotiate a strategy for the United States. The Tour has said the United States negotiations are more difficult, because the US is an emerging market in sports gambling. Currently, there are seven states with legalized sportsbooks: Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Delaware, Mississippi, and West Virginia. However, several states have already indicated that gambling will be on their legislative agenda for passage in 2019. Other states, such as New York, Illinois and Michigan, had passage of sportsbooks fail by a narrow margin, and will be trying again. IMG has mentioned it is studying the proposed legislation within the states to determine the best way forward.
Disclaimer: All images are copyright to their respective owners and are used by USA Online Casino for informational purposes only.