SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The glitzy new DraftKings Sportsbook at TPC Scottsdale opened in October, but the restaurant and gaming center is enjoying its debut as part of the WM Phoenix Open festivities this week.
The building is impressive, a 13,000-square-foot venue that sits barely a 5-iron away from the TPC Scottsdale clubhouse.
Aside from 40 betting kiosks, seven ticket windows and 3,400 square feet of video walls showing that day’s sports action, there’s also a dining area and a huge sports bar that opens up to a patio with cabanas and firepits.
With the gaudy attendance numbers that the People’s Open consistently boasts, and the soon-to-be for-profit PGA Tour certain to be looking for bigger and better ways to drive revenue in the future, this concept might seem like a natural for more sites, right?
Not according to Johnny Avello, who acts as the face of DraftKings sportsbooks in the role of race and sports director.
Golfweek got some time with Avello before the tournament started, and while he thinks the Scottsdale venue will be a rousing success, he insisted he doesn’t think the idea will spread to other Tour events.
“I’ve been in the sportsbook business for 37 years and at one point, golf was just another event to throw up. Sure, it handled some money in the majors. They handled the most money. The other tournaments, nobody really cared about.
“Since we’re in the space now and we keep growing, we’ve taken that menu where you just bet the start of golf and that’s it into a part where you can bet on in-game wagers. What’s going on now during the tournament? Will there be a birdie next hole, or will there be a bogey? Who will do better on this particular hole, Golfer A or Golfer B? Just the odds on the entire tournament while it’s going on: the top five, top 10, top 20, that’s what taking golf to new heights.”
Everybody kind of does their own form of handicapping and of course, there are pros out there who do extensive handicapping and then there’s people that might say, okay, I’m going to look back at the last two WM tournaments and see who has done well, but maybe didn’t win. And then I’m going to look and see over the last couple of weeks who’s played well and hasn’t won.
And then there are others who go down aboard and say, okay, here’s a guy that’s 30 or 40 to 1, I think that’s pretty good value, on a guy who’s playing pretty good and may have a chance to win this. That’s like a really easy form of handicapping.
Or some just come out to the WM tournament, go on the course and say. ‘Well, that’s a really good lookin’ guy. I think I’m going to put money on him.
There’s going to be heavy traffic. Now, of course, we have some weather issues around here and I don’t know what that’s going to mean, but it probably won’t slow down much, and hopefully, the weather clears up as we move closer to the weekend. But this is my third time down to this tournament and I see the kind of money it produces, you know, for betting purposes. I see the people that come to it and the great time that they’re having. So I’m expecting more of the same.
To me, this is the start of the golf season. Sure there have been a couple tournaments already, but to me, this is the one that starts everything. The majors and all the other events follow this.
Scottsdale is a very affluent area. And what’s better than having a sports book next to one of the premier golf courses? So I think both of those work hand-in-hand.
And for this place, football from September all the way through the Super Bowl draws a crowd now. Football’s on many days during the week, And that’s going to be followed by college basketball conference tournaments. And it just keeps coming. There really are no dead times any longer.
We do have other retail locations. We built a retail location in Wrigley Field, but no other golf. I can’t tell you what we’re going to do in the future but right now, no, this is the only one. I don’t see it in other places.
And as for trending, golf is at a high level. It is really at a high level and continues to grow each and every year. When you have more things you can bet on, you’re going to have more people going to be interested because just betting the tournaments straight up is kind of boring, isn’t it?