The European Tour has announced a new partnership with IMG Arena, a leading sports betting and content hub, for the collection, distribution and licensing of its official scoring data, allowing fans to benefit from significantly enhanced statistics and insights.
As part of the partnership, IMG Arena will live stream two selected par-three holes per week for syndication to data rights clients in selected territories. It will also distribute and license the Tour’s official scoring data on an exclusive basis to worldwide media organisations and international regulated sports betting and gaming markets in a significant long-term arrangement. IMG Arena agreed a similar deal with the PGA Tour in November last year.
IMG Arena is currently developing a real-time, shot-by-shot data collection system which will be installed at all European Tour events, with these new insights set to be available to fans via European Tour platforms and global broadcasters. A fully trained scoring team will use leading GPS technology, connectivity systems and greenside cameras to collect data from every shot at European Tour events. Successful trials have been completed and further testing will take place across a range of events during 2019, with a view to the system being fully operational for the 2020 season.
Under its agreement with the European Tour, IMG Arena will work closely with the European Tour’s Integrity Unit, which was launched in 2018 as a key component of an enhanced integrity programme to protect the Tour from corruption relating to sports betting.
Rufus Hack, chief content officer of the European Tour, said: “This partnership with IMG Arena will provide an enhanced statistical offering from our tournaments through real-time, shot-by-shot data. It will help us to grow our fan base and increase engagement through improved data and insights for fans across all our platforms. Licensing the data for regulated sports betting markets will allow fans around the world the opportunity to engage with our product in a different way.
“IMG Arena will work closely with our robust integrity programme, and our investment in this area will combine the latest thinking and world-class technology to both disseminate official scoring data to betting markets and protect our tournaments from the threat corruption.”
Max Wright Senior Vice President and Head of Commercial at IMG Arena, said: “More than a year in the making, this partnership will deliver one of the most sophisticated sports data products ever created. Our state-of-the-art, live scoring capture system will deliver a wealth of data and power a range of exciting new live betting markets. There is a huge opportunity for golf to become a global leader in sports betting. IMG Arena is at the forefront of the efforts to deliver this, with the European Tour a significant and complementary addition to our portfolio.”
The European Tour’s Golf Integrity Unit leads its integrity strategy, forging relationships and facilitating communication with betting operators and regulators. It also routinely focuses on player education and will use Genius Sports’ bet monitoring system, which is also employed by Major League Baseball and the English Premier League. The system compares real-time odds movements from global betting markets with predictive algorithms, providing automatic alerts for any irregular activity.
Keith Waters, the European Tour’s Chief Operating Officer, added: “Our primary responsibility is to our players. We will educate and support all professionals to ensure they have the right guidance and understand the latest golf betting regulations. We are also conscious of our duty to the game of golf and its outstanding reputation for integrity, so our education and coverage will extend to all player support personnel, including the caddies, friends and families of the players. We will be utilising Genius Sports’ sophisticated monitoring system and co-ordinating with betting regulators and operators, who play a vital part in preventing corruption.”
Ben Paterson, Integrity Operations Director of Genius Sports, said: “To be truly effective, a sport’s integrity strategy must be underpinned by continuous bet monitoring and reporting. We are proud to have been selected by the European Tour, providing new levels of visibility over global betting on their competitions and ensuring their events remain transparent, unpredictable and protected.”