IMG Arena, the sports betting unit of the IMG agency, has expanded its scoring data distribution agreement with the PGA Tour to include North America.
IMG and the PGA Tour announced a long-term agreement 10 months ago that allowed the then renamed IMG Arena to exclusively distribute scoring data to sports media companies, news outlets and betting operators around the world.
That tie-up has now been expanded to allow IMG Arena to distribute the Tour’s established ‘ShotLink’ data collection and analysis offering to domestic betting operators as the US market continues to open up. The ShotLink data is collected by walking scorers, greenside cameras and lasers. IMG said that the expanded agreement includes betting sector exclusivity for the delivery of live, shot-by-shot match and event data to global operators.
IMG noted: “Combining PGA Tour’s ShotLink data with IMG Arena’s sector expertise will bring to market an innovative golf solution that provides PGA Tour fans with new and exciting ways to enjoy the sport. The product is expected to be available worldwide in legal betting markets by early next year.”
Freddie Longe, senior vice-president and managing director at IMG Arena, said: “As the sports betting market in the United States evolves, extending our relationship with the PGA Tour is an important next step for IMG Arena. For the first time, sports fans will have access to shot-by-shot action, from tournaments all-year-round using official PGA Tour ShotLink data. We continue to feel that golf has the audience, interest and following to become one of the leading in-play betting sports globally.”
IMG’s betting business (then ‘IMG Gaming’) was launched seven years ago as it acquired Enetpulse, a provider of live scoring data for tennis’ ATP and WTA Tours. Having established the business mainly on the back of the tennis data and betting streaming rights, IMG has been in the process of building it out into different sports, including golf.
IMG followed up its initial PGA Tour agreement by agreeing a deal with the European Tour for the collection, distribution and licensing of its official scoring data on a worldwide basis.
In a first for the sport, IMG Arena is distributing live streaming coverage of golf to betting operators. Golf bodies had been unique among major sports rights-holders by not selling their betting streaming rights to third parties given that the host broadcast of golf does not always reflect the action in real time. The production will move from hole to hole and is often curated so that viewers can catch up on moments that are not actually being aired as they happen.
Upon initially signing up with the PGA Tour, IMG Arena developed plans to offer live streaming to bookmakers from selected par-three holes and developed new shot outcome bets in the process.
Ron Price, the PGA Tour’s chief operating officer, said today (Friday): “The PGA Tour remains focused on safeguarding the sport, growing the game and deepening fan engagement with next-generation solutions. IMG Arena has proven credentials delivering fast data and live streaming in partnership with official rights holders, and we’re pleased to further extend our existing relationship.”