Golf Business News – Sporting Insights explores future of professional golf

Sporting Insights, formerly Sports Marketing Surveys, has published a report on the hiring of 21,000 golfers in 13 countries on the current state of professional sport.

The report entitled “The future of professional golf” covered a variety of issues related to the professional game, including interest in attending golf events and watching golf on television, attitudes towards women’s and mixed golf, views on players, sponsors, the genesis of LIV Golf and the Responding to existing tours, format preferences and media coverage.

“The future of professional golf is exciting, but not necessarily certain,” said Richard Payne, director of Sporting Insights. “On the one hand, golf has an almost unprecedented growth opportunity. Record numbers of people play worldwide. Articulate, highly marketable and most importantly, highly talented young stars are showcasing their talents in more countries than ever before, while record-breaking purses demonstrate the commercial interest in the sport. Innovations like Netflix’s Full Swing and CBS’ mid-round mics promise to give golfers a better look at their favorite players and introduce non-golfers to some of the game’s most compelling personalities.

“However, there is also unprecedented discord in the professional game. TV ratings aren’t what they used to be, thanks in part to the fragmentation of sports rights and the increasing choice of entertainment offered through streaming. In addition to the long-standing imbalances between men’s and women’s tours, the emergence of LIV Golf and the whirlwind of rumours, arguments and legal action that have followed have raised new questions.

“As our new global study of the future of professional golf shows, these questions are not always easy to answer, but they are fundamental. They are fundamental if the sport of golf is to be presented in the best light, so as not to get bogged down in the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities instead of the other way around. In our study, there is broad global consensus that LIV is a “disruptive” force. There is far less consensus on whether this is a good thing, with a number of striking regional and demographic differences coming to the fore.

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“Other findings are a little clearer. There is a keen appetite for more variety in game formats, more matchplay, more team golf and more mixed events – although the level of this interest varies from country to country. Studies confirm that it is not only women who are interested in women’s and mixed golf. Tournaments like the Scandinavian Mixed and the newly announced QBE Shootout are undoubtedly an important part of the present and future of golf.”

Payne added: “There are other issues that still need to be addressed. The data suggests there is an appetite for an agreement between tours, but what form should that agreement take? How many golfers would like this to be a fair stance and how many would like LIV and its Saudi supporters to show no quarters in all talks. Again, this will likely depend on the region – sports washing is an important dialogue in the western world in golf and other sports – as attitudes towards football club ownership further sheds light on – but it’s less of a talking point in Asian markets.

“Another question that golf needs to ask itself is how actively it promotes the money that is at stake. There is more than one indication in the data that nurturing the now enormously lucrative sums at the top of the game may not necessarily be positive for all groups. Is there a danger that golf will go off the rails and its players look greedy if it goes too far down this path?
“What is certain is that Tours, players, agencies and the brands that sponsor the sport all need to be up to date with the global and local sentiment surrounding professional golf. Only by understanding this in as much detail as possible can they make the right decisions to overcome some of the obstacles and protect and enhance their reputation.”

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Sporting insights “The future of professional golf ‘ study is now available as an interactive dashboard. Interested parties can purchase data on a single market or compare multiple selected markets. Results can be split by age, gender, play frequency and market, providing specific granular insights into markets important to different businesses.

For more information, please visit or email [email protected].

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