Eireann Kelly, IMG ARENA: Golf’s in-play revolution
Ahead of his appearance on the Betting on Golf panel at this week’s Betting on Sports Europe conference, IMG ARENA product director Eireann Kelly discusses the game-changing product that has transformed in-play betting on the sport.
SBC: Golf has lagged behind other sports as an in-play betting event. Why is that changing?
Eireann Kelly: It is one of the most popular sports on earth – from both a spectator and participation point of view – but, from a betting perspective, golf was one of the final remaining top tier sports that didn’t have a robust, in-play proposition.
Analysis suggests that as much of 95 per cent of gross win on golf was derived pre-event – an amount that dwarfs the likes of tennis and football where in-play betting accounts for as much as 65 per cent.
The characteristics of golf are perfect for in-play but, historically, the complex nature of data collection made building an attractive in-play offering almost impossible, with long delays between pay-outs and an incomplete trading picture.
IMG ARENA’s Golf Event Centre is the game changer.
It was designed by implementing the most sophisticated data collection method for sports betting seen to date. Following extensive training, 60 scorers for DP World Tour events and 200 scorers for PGA Tour events record lies for every single shot within two seconds of the ball landing. Cameras on every green plot ball position to within 43mm – the width of a golf ball – opening markets straight away on putts.
The shot-by-shot data is fast and accurate, allowing fans and bettors to follow every shot of every tournament and for markets to open immediately after each shot, increasing engagement.
SBC: What else does IMG ARENA’s Golf Event Centre add to the in-play experience?
EK: Its immersive front end makes the Event Centre a unique product – and an engaging and exciting way to follow a tournament.
The 2D and 3D course maps take every golf fan inside the ropes, increasing knowledge and transparency of what is happening on course. Leaderboards, statistics, shot-by-shot data, par three streaming and betting markets are also built into the interface, with latency of less than two seconds on over 99 per cent of shots.
This same data feed is now powering an increasing number of non-betting services across the DP World Tour and its digital assets, and we expect this to continue evolving over time.
SBC: What is the size of the opportunity; how big can in-play betting on golf become?
EK: Fans and bettors no longer have to be reliant on TV pictures. They can follow golf to the minute and with markets reactive to every shot around the course, engagement has skyrocketed.
The data we have seen since the Golf Event Centre went live in 2020 shows that it is a major customer acquisition and retention tool within the sports betting ecosystem. Furthermore, H2 Gambling Capital has forecast that golf will be the fastest growing betting sport to 2026 in real terms at 17.46 per cent CAGR.
The Betting on Sports Europe conference and exhibition takes place at Twickenham Stadium, London on 7-9 June 2022, and features an agenda that looks at industry leadership issues, the next generation of technology, payments systems, how to improve player protection, the opportunities created by the FIFA World Cup, the latest developments in regulation, marketing strategies, and the potential of the esports betting market.
Full event information, including details of how to attend, is available at the Betting on Sports Europe website.