Golf is partying like it’s 1999.
Flashback almost 20 years ago. Tiger Woods was about to go on an unprecedented run. Country clubs were jacking up membership dues. You actually had to book tee times way in advance of your round. Golf TV ratings were at record highs.
Then Tiger started banging porn stars, crashed his car, got injured, couldn’t play, and the masses stopped caring.
As we’ve written, daily fantasy sports provided a teaser of how gambling could boost interest in golf. With Tiger turning back the clock and betting legal in the U.S., is golf America’s next big gambling sport?
At Fortune’s Brainstorm Reinvent conference in Chicago this week, a panel that consisted of veritable Nostradami predicted that, yes, sports gambling will make golf more popular.
According to George Pyne, CEO of Bruin Sports Capital, “You’re 19 times more likely to watch an event if you’re betting on it.” Given that simple season-long fantasy football will have me tuning in to watch the Cleveland Browns on a Thursday night in September just to see if Jarvis Landry can snag 8 catches (PPR league, obv) for 100+ yards, Pyne might be on to something there.
Pyne raises one good and very prescient point: Golf tournaments have 75+ players, making the gambling opportunities “off the charts.” From individual player props to basic round +/- wagers, golf offers more opportunities to bet for the action junkies.
As always, content is going to be king
The panel also discussed something we touched on this week: sports betting content opportunities and ways to further engage fans.
ESPN’s executive vice president of content, Connor Schell, confirmed that the mouse ears are creating more sports betting programming (including show called I’ll Take That Bet). This could also lead to more ways of interacting with and engaging gamblers.
“This is just the beginning of exploring how this changes how you connect with sports fans, and how you connect with the real avid and engaged sports fans.”
Buckle up, the sports betting landscape is taking off. Things are only going to get more and more interesting.