US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau and DraftKings announced a branding and marketing partnership today that the two sides say is the first between an active PGA tour player and a gaming company. It signals potential change among golf’s reputation for usually bland corporate sponsorships.
Not only that, but DraftKings says the accord goes into effect next week at the 2020 Masters. DeChambeau, the sixth-ranked golfer in the world, will don a DraftKings logo on his golf hat. Unlike most competitors that wear baseball hats or visors, the seven-time winner on the PGA Tour wears a Hogan Cap, a style made famous by the late Ben Hogan, one of the sport’s all-time greats.
Professional golf has been a key growth sport in both daily fantasy and sports betting, and our collaboration with Bryson DeChambeau is a notable new layer of mainstream brand exposure,” said DraftKings CEO Jason Robins in a statement.
The agreement jibes with the daily fantasy sports (DFS) and sportsbook operator leaning on a younger demographic, as DeChambeau is less than two months removed from his 27th birthday.
Sensible Choice for Visibility
Marketing deals between gaming companies and sports leagues and individual athletes are usually about increasing brand visibility, and DraftKings is likely to accomplish that objective with DeChambeau.
The Californian, also known as “The Mad Scientist” for his engineer-like approach to golf science, is a controversial figure on tour. In a sport historically known for deft touch and knowing when to be restrained, DeChambeau is flipping that script by pushing the bounds of technology and the rules of golf in an effort to add length off the tee.
Many competitors are vocal in their criticism and concerns about his “grip and rip it” approach. But DeChambeau remains undaunted, saying he’s likely to roll out a 48-inch driver — the maximum allowed by the PGA Tour– at the Masters in a bid to add some oomph to his drives.
Bottom line: He rankles rivals and golf purists alike. But DeChambeau is both accomplished and controversial, meaning there will be plenty of eyes and cameras on him, particularly at major tournaments, and that’s exactly what DraftKings is hoping for.
Golf Betting on the Rise
The DraftKings/DeChambeau is relevant for another reason. It underscores golf’s increasing prominence in the fast-growing US sports betting landscape.
For years, golf resided in the hinterlands of domestic sports wagering, saddled with afterthought status relative to football, basketball, and baseball. DraftKings confirms that’s changing in a big way.
“At DraftKings, golf remains the fourth-most-popular sport for daily fantasy, while golf sportsbook handle has grown over ten times year over year,” according to the gaming company. “Excluding NFL games, the 2019 Masters ranked among the top five highest-bet sporting events on DraftKings, while 2020 has featured many of the company’s most popularly bet golf tournaments of all time.”
The PGA Tour is embracing this move, notching agreements with DraftKings and PointsBet over the past several months.