Disc Golf in the last ten years has been quite exciting. New tours. New companies. Bigger tournaments. More courses. Everything. As we enter a new decade, we asked Discmania CEO Jussi Meresmaa to get his thoughts on where disc golf will be in 2030. Sure, we’re just a few weeks into this decade, but it’s time to see where we might be ten years from now.
Bigger disc golf events will become profitable businesses
Bigger disc golf events are able to create enough value to become a profitable business.
Spectator passes, merchandise, sponsorships, and media rights will generate enough revenue to make bigger events profitable. More promoters are able to make money running events and eventually turn full-time promoters.
This is the most under-resourced area in pro disc golf at the moment and needs to grow if we want bigger and better things for the pros. The faster we get event organizing into the pro level, the better it will be for pro disc golf.
Event media rights will be monetized
Bigger events and tours will monetize their media rights and media companies will pay to cover those events.
This will happen in few years. PDGA took the control of their National Tour media for 2020 and one of the Disc Golf Pro Tour's main goals is to create a strong media plan for 2020 season. It will be really tough to enter to the sport as a new YouTube media channel.
More diversity to be a touring pro
The best players will be more important for the manufacturers and companies will focus on promoting them. Mid-level pros are having hard time sustaining their touring. Players need to be either really good (winning tournaments) or socially popular (lots of followers) in order to get a real sponsorship deal.
Some manufacturers are spending too large a part of their revenue on the players and will need to scale down in the future. New manufacturers will keep picking up players, but the total amount of touring pros is mainly dependable on the events, not manufacturers.
We will see a major acquisition in our sport
It will be either an existing brand coming into disc golf or buying in by acquiring an existing disc golf brand. We will not see big dogs like Nike or Adidas, but we can certainly see a mid-sized brand coming into the sport within a decade.
We will see fewer new manufacturers than in the last decade because coming into the sport is getting harder. Innova and Latitude 64 will remain as the top manufacturing facilities, but Chinese companies are coming into this business.
McBeth will win another four (4) World titles.
Paul McBeth will dominate the first-half of the decade, but then younger talents will pass him and take the sport to another level. Currently, there are only handful of pros, who takes this sport seriously and have a work ethic of an athlete. This will change over the decade. Players in 2020 have no business of making it in 2030 with the same level of practice and talent.
Think about the golf – how many pros don’t have a swing coach, personal trainer, nutritionist, and mental coach? Now, think about how many disc golfer have any of that?
Tournament purses will not grow overwhelmingly, since money needs to be spent on event infrastructure, personnel, and other crucial things before adding more to the purses. Most of the players will earn much more money through endorsements than through events (that are still run mainly by amateur and volunteer promoters)
Disc golf will continue to grow with the annual pace of 15%
The main part of disc golf will be enjoyed in a grass-root level. That will be helpful to spread the sport into the new market areas.
During the decade, disc golf will establish itself to another 10-15 countries and will get bigger in Asia. World Championships will be played for the first time outside North America and that will be a great opportunity for growth of the sport in that country/contingent.
Disc golf will be integrated in schools in some main market areas like Finland and Estonia. We will also see the first real disc golf schools and educational programs happen in a larger scale.
More big tournaments are cancelled due to an extreme weather
This is getting worse towards to the end of the decade. Global warming will affect to every disc golfer at times. Whether its +18 degrees in Celsius (64° F) in Norway (like the start of the year) or unbearable fires in Australia (more than 5.9 million hectares of land has burnt there, more than a size of Denmark).
We have ten years to figure out just where disc golf goes, but we feel this is a good place to start.