The intertwining of professional sports leagues and companies that offer wagering on their events continues to expand in the legal sports betting landscape.
Tuesday, the PGA and DraftKings augmented their year-old business relationship with the announcement that DK has been named the first Official Betting Operator of the PGA Tour.
As per the terms of the agreement, DK will have the US-based rights to use PGA Tour trademarks on its sportsbook products. It will also gain advertising space within Tour media and Tour partner platforms.
Additionally, DK Sportsbook users will benefit from the content and video rights the operator gains with the new partnership. Those will be leveraged into pre- and post-match betting-based programming, and just as important, the distribution of match highlights relevant to bettors that have active wagers.
The agreement is officially termed an “expansion” of the multi-tiered, multi-year content and marketing pact the two companies forged a year ago at this time.
That arrangement – which made DK’S DFS product the Official Daily Fantasy Game of the PGA Tour — initiated the process of brand integration for both companies on each other’s platforms.
Smooth sailing for DK and PGA Tour thus far
The combination of the DFS industry’s explosive success and the progressively expansive reach and popularity of legalized sports betting has had a seismic effect on the perception around real-money-based sports gaming.
The paradigm shift has led to what was once was a far-fetched concept – professional leagues forming official, public-facing partnerships with entities that offer gambling-based products centered around the sports they sanction — becoming increasingly commonplace.
The PGA wasn’t the first such entity to take the leap, but they’ve subsequently jumped in with both feet.
The Tour began to foreshadow an eventual embrace of the new reality when it instituted an integrity program in conjunction with Genius Sports in January 2018. That came a full five-plus months prior to the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) by the Supreme Court.
It subsequently modified its policies in February 2019 to allow Official Marketing Partnerships and title sponsorships with DFS operators. Following that development, the PGA and DK reached their aforementioned July 2019 agreement.
The marriage has been such a blissful one for both parties – especially during the preceding lean months without team sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic – that it helped spark the latest collaboration.
“DraftKings and the PGA TOUR have continued to make history with the innovative additions to our agreement which began last year,” said Ezra Kucharz, Chief Business Officer of DraftKings in the official press release announcing the move.
“We are excited to further our relationship with the PGA TOUR as their first Official Betting Operator as well,” Kucharz continued. “Golf has been an especially important outlet for fan engagement over these past few months, and this latest collaboration is a significant next step for both the golf and gaming industries.”
Norb Gambuzza, the PGA Tour’s Senior Vice President, Media and Gaming, confirms the relationship has been a mutually beneficial one. More from the press release:
“The PGA TOUR couldn’t be more pleased with growing our collaboration with DraftKings,” said Gambuzza. “The growth in consumption and fan engagement we have seen over the last year in our DraftKings Daily Fantasy games has been tremendous. The expansion of the relationship to now include sports betting is a natural evolution and one which fully supports and promotes the PGA TOUR’s objectives of reaching and engaging new segments of fans while introducing them to our players, tournaments and media platforms.”
Golf proves its considerable worth in both DFS and sports betting spaces
Just as with the DFS component of the DK-PGA relationship, Tuesday’s news was preceded by golf demonstrating increasing popularity with those who like to complement their fandom with some skin in the game.
For example, the sport’s DFS contest entries had reached the 20 million mark on DK in 2018, the year prior to the first agreement.
On the sports betting side, Kucharz confirms to TheLines that golf currently stands as the fourth-most popular sport on DK Sportsbook and that the last year has brought “continued increases in golf engagement” from bettors.
DK Sportsbook has been offering an expanding menu of bet types on PGA events that now include head-to-head odds on multiple golfers, live betting, and betting on top 10 finishers, in addition to standard pre-match winner wagers.