FORRREEEE: Watch Out For Golf
The RBC Canadian Open Special.
Our thoughts are with the country and people of Ukraine, hoping a peaceful end is near
On Today’s Agenda:
DJ Throws In Towel Ahead of RBC Canadian Open
Increased Brand Interest in Golf
theScore Bet Providing A New Perspective on Golf
Throwing In The Towel
The Start of the End for the PGA?
By AJ Hewish
Since 1929, the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) Tour has been the main tour played by male golfers in North America and the United States, including some of the top golfers in history such as Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan, Justin Thomas, and so many more world-class golfers over the years.
Playing at the top courses across the United States, players from all over the world participate in the tour to reign supreme and win the tour versus the best golfers. However, the recent turn of events possibly suggests a shift in the market of golfing competition.
Recently, newcomers LIV Golf have entered the scene with an international series that takes golf global over 7 regular-season events including tournaments in London, Chicago, Bangkok, Jeddah, and many more top international courses.
The PGA finally has a rival, and so far, some profound changes have occurred in professional golf. Most recently, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) announced that it had ended its multi-year sponsorship deal with 2021 Masters winner and 2015 PGA Golfer of the Year Dustin Johnson, after over 4 years of the agreement. RBC announced its decision and stated, “As a result of the decisions made by professional golfers Dustin Johnson and Graeme McDowell to play the LIV Golf Invitational Series opener, RBC is terminating its sponsorship agreement with both players. We wish them well in their future endeavours.".
After several years on the PGA Tour, Johnson announced it was best for himself and his family to join LIV Golf’s international series and will tee off June 9th in London, which coincides with the RBC Canadian Open in Ontario, which the players are set to tee off on the same day.
LIV Golf announced a list of 42 players that are set to play in this next week’s inaugural LIV Golf invitational series in London, with more than a dozen PGA Tour players included in the list, such as Sergio Garcia, Louis Oosthuizen, Ian Poulter, and Lee Westwood.
This could be the start of the end for the PGA Tour with some massive names moving over the LIV Golf, backed by CEO and retired world #1 golfer Greg Norman and the Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
In the coming years, it could come to the point where dozens more PGA Golfers make the transition to the new international golfing tour with LIV Golf, in an attempt to pursue a massive overhaul of the PGA-dominated golf market.
Guess Who’s Back, Back Again
RBC Canadian Open to Return After 2-year Hiatus
By Hiral Patel
The greens will be greener than ever next week, as the PGA tour comes up North for the first time in 2 years. The RBC Canadian Open is scheduled to tee-off next week at St. George's Golf Course in Etobicoke, Ontario – and golf fans should be excited for the return of the tour to Canada. With talent like Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, and Scottie Scheffler sharing the course with Canada’s best male golfers, there will not be a lack of celebrity sightings in Toronto next week.
For a tournament like the RBC Canadian Open to return after 2 years marks a significant achievement for the sport in Canada. It is no secret that the pandemic was tough on the sports industry, however the spike of interest in watching and playing golf (how many of your friends suddenly became golf junkies?) was a unique opportunity that organizations like Golf Canada were able to leverage. With momentum for the sport riding strong, the return of the RBC Canadian Open comes with higher expectations.
There will be no shortage of entertainment value at the event, beyond the athletes on the green. In collaboration with RBC and their partner Live Nation Canada, Golf Canada will be hosting the RBCxMusic Concert Series, featuring performances from Flo Rida and Maroon 5. The organizers look geared to maximize the entertainment and celebration with this additional benefit for event attendees.
What the story of the 2022 RBC Canadian Open comes down to for sports marketers and others in the industry is simply the power of partnerships. RBC’s partnership with Golf Canada has been longstanding, and while the headlines are overshadowing by announcements of brands like Pepsi rolling back their partnerships with the Super Bowl and the NHL, RBC is not only continuing their title sponsorship of the Canadian Open, but bringing forward more to the event in the shape of the concert series.
Beyond that, the response from brands has been a very impressive milestone. The tournament has 22 partners on their website, and the announcements have been coming in steadily. From unique activations, to supply related partnerships (including an official sausage partner) - there’s a case study to be written about this tournament. Only time will tell to see how the tournament fare based on viewership and attendance, but it is safe to say that our eyes will be on more than just the 18th hole.
Golf Canada & theScore Bet Team Up
Taking Their Gaming Partnership To New Heights
By Caleb Gilligan
It’s official, theScore Bet has partnered with Golf Canada to become their official gaming partner. The innovative deal that brings new on-site and digital activities to the Canadian golfing industry has been announced ahead of the 2022 RBC Canadian Open which is set to begin next week.
After reaching an agreement with the PGA Tour in March of 2021 to be their Official Betting Operator in North America, theScore Bet doubles down with another Canadian partnership. The deal includes a new and entertaining way to watch the world’s best golfers up close. theScore Bet is introducing Skyline Seating where 22 lucky fans have the chance to sit up to 100 feet in the air in a suspended seating section. Fans will be harnessed in the air for up to 30 minutes where they are served complimentary food and drinks while having the chance to watch golfers on the 18th hole. To be eligible for Skyline Seating, fans must visit various theScore Bet stations on the course such as their BET MODE Putting Challenge or theScore Bet Members Lounge. As expected, only theScore Bet account holders as eligible for Skyline Seating.
The betting company has been very busy with its marketing efforts in Ontario following the legalization of single-event sports betting in April of 2022. Shortly after the legalization on April 4, theScore Bet announced their first partnership, a 10-year agreement with Canada’s only Major League Baseball franchise, the Toronto Blue Jays. The partnership also includes a plan to create a theScore Bet-branded sports bar near the Jays’ stadium, the Rogers Centre.
With the number of competitors in the Ontario sports gambling market, theScore has profited from its existing brand recognition in the province. theScore started as a sports highlight television channel under the name Sportscope, before rebranding to theScore in 2000. In 2012, Rogers Communications acquired theScore Television Network and rebranded the channel to Sportsnet360. While Rogers effectively eliminated theScore’s television presence at the time, Score Media, theScore’s parent company, retained all of its digital assets. theScore made a smart move by betting on its digital assets following the release of its mobile app in 2007. Since then, their sports-news app has been consistently one of the most popular sports apps in North America, with approximately 4 to 5 million active users. In September of 2019, theScore Bet was released in three states, making it the first media company to enter the sports betting industry in North America. After reaching a strategic agreement in 2019 to help them enter more states, Penn National Gaming acquired Score Media and Gaming in 2021 for around $2 billion in cash and stocks. Since partnering with Penn in 2019, theScore Bet has seen an incredible rise to being one of the top sports betting apps in North America.
Although the partnership brings sports betting into Canadian golf for the first time, it also brings fresh faces, new ideas, and a wave of excitement for the average sports viewer. The RBC Canadian Open is set to kick off at the St. Georges Golf and Country Club in Etobicoke, Ontario on June 6.