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2017 Combined Tour: Time to turn Pro?

Payouts are increasing, viewership is increasing, player brands move products, and we are closer to a unified tour than ever. In 2016, we set the table. In 2017, we get to eat.

Increasing Payout

Over the past dozen years, premier event payouts have been fairly stagnant. In 2015, the Ledgestone set a new gold standard for event payouts and started the payout growth. In 2016, the DGPT brought six premier events into the fold to join the PDGA NT. In 2017, we see how things are accelerating.

NT Growth

Just three years ago, in 2014, the NT payout (for MPO/FPO) was $215,000. In 2017, the Pro Tour payout alone will be around $500,000. The six NT events will likely add another $200,000. Combined, we will be more than tripling the NT MPO/FPO payout of just three years earlier.

All told, there are six NT events, ten Pro Tour events and four World Tour events. That is 20 premier events plus Pro Worlds. A few years ago, this number was a dozen. Plus, for the most part, the tours are working together on scheduling so it is actually easier to compete at these 20 events than it was to compete at 12 in 2014.

Additionally, the PDGA announced a 350% increase in payout to the National Tour points champions, now $35,000, while the DGPT announced that the added cash to the Pro Tour Points/Championship would increase by over 50% to $55,000. Lastly, both tours are paying $10,000 to the women’s side of the game in their championship payouts, making 2017 the richest year for women in our sport as well.

Increasing Viewership

While we don’t have any numbers on increasing viewership for the Pro Tour, the numbers of people tuning in are clearly increasing. Philo’s albatross got over 1,000,000 views on YouTube. Jomez, CCDG, Disc Golf Guy, Prodigy Disc, and Spin TV‘s recap videos are garnering 50k and even 100k views much more often. As the players continue to improve, the venues get more and more scenic, and the video quality gets better and better, more and more people are tuning in (thank you!).

We will be sure to track viewership for the Pro Tour in 2017. Our videos had over 1,000,000 views in 2016. Our goal for 2017 is 3,000,000. Remind us of this in October! :-)

Players are Brands

When Paul McBeth announced his partnership with Adidas and, as reported by Ultiword Disc Golf, sold hundreds of pairs of shoes over a weekend, many people took notice. This was a big moment in our sport, but there were many smaller events that got us to this point. As with any defining moment, without countless smaller moments it could not have happened. Ken Climo was the first disc golf player brand. Barry Schultz, Schweberger, Julianna, Des and many others followed.

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Today, we could all name off a dozen players that we would love to meet and enjoy to watch. The players are successfully building themselves into a brand. Getting a Sockibomb, Big Jerm, or McBeast disc matters – as does getting a DGPT disc! As this becomes more and more commonplace, it will naturally expand to products peripheral to our sport. I look forward to watching the next steps in this direction.

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21 premier events, $90,000 in tour championship payouts, 1,000,000 people watching a single disc golf video, growing player brands and a quasi-unified tour (in scheduling if not in name and payout). Is this the best year to be a pro? Is this the best year to watch the pros? Will 2017 see more growth in disc golf than ever before?

You’ll have to watch to see!

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It is time.

13 Comments

  • Luna Kirk Haggadone

    January 24, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    Keep up the good thank you for your support

    • January 25, 2017 at 7:52 am

      We will continue to do our best, thank you!

  • John Parcak

    January 24, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    Disc Golf is the affordable recreation that is growing quickly because of its low entry and equipment costs. And this is just the beginning!

  • Matt Hall

    January 25, 2017 at 1:17 am

    This article almost makes me eant to play disc golf again! I will always play but it makes me want to at least putt in the backyard or play more than twice a month at tournaments! Seriously, I will be signing up for Waco and Nick Hyde due to the spark this article created!

    • January 25, 2017 at 7:53 am

      Matt, I look forward to seeing you there!

      • Peggy

        February 5, 2017 at 9:46 pm

        The puseharcs I make are entirely based on these articles.

  • Charlie Booras

    January 25, 2017 at 8:10 am

    Very proud of all you have done to create this scenario, Steve Dodge (and many others). Looks like the tipping point is near for players to be compensated appropriately for their hard work and dedication.

    • January 26, 2017 at 6:34 am

      Emphasis on “and many others”. I’m going to make a post of the amazing team helping to pull this off soon.

    • Eldora

      February 5, 2017 at 9:25 pm

      Essays like this are so important to brnoedniag people’s horizons.

  • Fishead Tim

    January 25, 2017 at 8:50 am

    Excited for the Year of the Real DGPT.

    Thanks!
    #2017YearOfThePeacock

  • TJtheHammer

    January 25, 2017 at 10:34 am

    Very excited about what is happening in disc golf! It really is the “people’s” game. The culture of the sport is refreshing. Money has ruined all of the major sports leagues. Even the PGA Tour. (Just my opinion now☺) The culture of disc golf can be a difference maker, if its maintained, not getting sucked into the mindset that takes alot away from the other sports leagues. This tour and the others can set a nice example that is lacking in pro sports now, that is honor, sportsmanship, and fun. The money has its own place.

    • January 26, 2017 at 6:37 am

      Maintaining disc culture in our sport is primary. It is good to be reminded of this from time to time.

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