The NFL welcomed U.S. sports betting last month by partnering with Sportradar to sell official sports data for the league. Earlier in the week, the PGA Tour decided to do the same by expanding upon their previous deal with gaming partner IMG Arena. The new arrangement will allow sportsbooks in the U.S. exclusive access to official play-by-play PGA Tour sports data.
For golf fans, this is the first chance to use ShotLink information on a play-by-play basis for every tournament the PGA Tour hosts. There is another gaming company, DraftKings, that also has access to ShotLink, but this is only for daily fantasy sports. ShotLink uses a combination of cameras and lasers to provide in-depth statistics and odds.
Once ShotLink is fully ready, any sportsbook in the U.S. can purchase access to the data to help provide better odds. The biggest question is whether or not there are any companies that are going to be willing to pay the price for it. Sportradar is asking for 1.5% of betting revenue to use NFL play-by-play data, but the key difference is that football receives more sports wagers than any other in the country.
Unfortunately, the data provided from ShotLink may not be very effective for creating improved betting odds. ShotLink tracks information related to striking, club choices, and scoring, but these don’t translate to better odds. In reality, there are few situations where a bettor would actually benefit by knowing this information to place their bet.
There is a much better chance of finding suitable sportsbooks if the PGA Tour is careful about how exclusive the data is. The new deal allows for IMG Arena to collect golfing data, but it is unclear as to whether or not another company is able to do the same. The PGA Tour would definitely prefer to find suitable buyers for official data, but if they cannot find any then they will try to have it incorporated into state law.
Whether it shows up through state laws or in sportsbook distribution, ShotLink will definitely be here in early 2020 to help shape betting odds. Only time will tell if the data is actually useful and whether or not any sportsbooks actually have any interest in it.