As a betting product, golf has grown exponentially in recent times and with the Ryder Cup nearing, there is no better time for betting operators to maximise the drive of the sport.
Ahead of the eagerly anticipated start of the tournament, SBC spoke to Mike Murphy from OnlineBettingSites.com about how affiliates and sportsbook operators can work together to take advantage of the growing popularity of the Ryder Cup.
SBC: As a betting product, how much has golf grown in recent times and how much does it lend itself to betting?
Mike Murphy: Industry insiders have been talking up the growth of golf betting for quite some time now. Going back as far as 2012, one sportsbook manager told the New York Times that golf betting is “leaps and bounds ahead of where it was 10 or 15 years ago. The money coming in now doesn’t even compare.”
This has been further driven, in part, by resurgence and return of Tiger Woods, but one player alone cannot move the needle to such a degree without a healthy betting industry all on its own. People are paying attention and betting on golf in greater numbers today than ever before.
As far as golf lending itself to betting, the two go together hand-in-hand. Betting is an intrinsic part of the sport. Tales of golfers duking it out on the course with private bets between the players are as old as the sport itself.
In the modern day, bookmakers have come up with all sorts of interesting ways to bet on golf despite it being a fairly straightforward, tournament-style form of competition. There are the usual wagers on who will win a tournament plus wagers on who will be up after a round, scoring totals, who will or won’t make the cut, top-10 finishes, head-to-head matchups, margin of victory, whether or not there will be a hole in one and much more.
SBC: How can affiliates maximise both the casual and hardcore audience that the Ryder Cup attracts?
MM: The Ryder Cup is a golden opportunity to relate to casual and hardcore fans alike – it may actually be one of the very best events for connecting with both types of fans.
The Ryder Cup appeals to casuals with big name golfers who are known to the general public and big-name appeal is an easy way to connect with recreational fans. Simple writeups discussing how big-name players are likely to perform, what those players have been up to recently and their current betting odds is a reliable way to drum up interest.
The resurgence of Tiger Woods and his unlikely return to form was tailor made to connect with casual golf fans. Even people who don’t watch golf know who Tiger Woods is. His recent comeback makes it easy to spin an intriguing narrative of the former great, plagued by injuries and personal troubles, returning now as the underdog and against all odds.
Information and data have a place for serious punters, but it is the narrative that invokes emotion, provokes controversy, encourages discussion and generates page views. And as useful as it is for an affiliate to target specific topics in order to attract qualified website visitors who are interested in betting on golf right now, raw numbers in terms of pure traffic also generate backlinks and ad clicks.
Something else affiliates should keep in mind with golf betting in general is hardcore betting analyses are great for establishing trust, but don’t necessarily convert new customers. How many people viewing an article about gaining a statistical betting edge already have funded accounts somewhere? Compare that to selling your more casual viewers on a free bet offer at your favourite bookmaker when they drop by to read about the big name of the day.
With that in mind, the approach affiliates can take to maximise the casual and hardcore audience alike is as simple as this: produce content that engages the casual and hardcore punters. The trick is learning how to court both types of fans.
SBC: How difficult is it for operators to construct bonuses for a sport like golf?
MM: Constructing bonuses for golf is no more difficult than doing so for other sports. It all comes down to an operator’s creativity and priorities. Online bookmakers tend to offer standard welcome bonuses to all new customers regardless of which sports or events are in vogue at the moment.
However, some operators do introduce more aggressive and specialized offers during the run-up to major events such as the Ryder Cup. These promotions can be offered to new customers as an incentive to sign up or presented as a means to reactivate former customers.
As the Ryder Cup approaches, we can expect to see operators compete with enhanced odds, special payouts and featured bets centered around one player. For example, an operator may offer a free no-risk bet on a certain player in a particular match, or an enhanced payout for that player.
Savvy operators can tap into fans’ sense of patriotism or their interest in particular players. There are also opportunities to take advantage of high-visibility matches that are almost guaranteed to boost interest in the Ryder Cup.
What can hold operators back is a need to prioritise. The Ryder Cup is a fine event, but the major betting sites have a world full of sporting events that must be covered. Between the end of September and the beginning of October, operators will also be dealing with the much-anticipated boxing bout between Anthony Joshua and Alexander Povetkin, the Russian Grand Prix, the AFL Grand Final, NFL games and the final stretch of the MLB regular season.
With so many events to cover, sports betting operators have to pick and choose what to promote with special offers so as not to overwhelm customers.
SBC: How important is it that affiliates utilise expertise and insight for their content with regards to the Ryder Cup?
MM: Content is king and it is vital that affiliates treat their readers like the thoughtful, savvy punters they are. Long gone are the days of flimsy content stuffed with ads getting the job done. The major search engines have come a long way in improving their search results and low-quality content is worse than useless; it is usually damaging to affiliates in terms of trust and search rankings.
Affiliates do not necessarily need to be experts in the Ryder Cup specifically in order to put their expertise and insight to good use. A part of being a smart affiliate is knowing where one’s strengths lie and leveraging those strengths to produce high-quality content.
For example, if an affiliate isn’t an expert-level golf handicapper, that’s fine. There’s no need to write yet another article full of flimsy predictions and rehashed content from other websites. Plenty of other affiliates will already be producing similar content anyways.
This ties back into what we discussed in the first question. Coming up with new ways to approach the Ryder Cup and give readers something interesting or useful is a winning strategy and will remain so for a long time to come.