Forget who made a hole-in-one on Colonial’s famous #13 – the real hole-in-one is the technology surrounding the tournament. For years the PGA tour and its partners have focused on leveraging technology to enhance the spectators’ experience – whether on the course or on the couch. This year introduces even more offerings like player updates via Twitter and Facebook and video postings on YouTube. Here’s a quick run-down of the tech-packed tournament for one of the world’s oldest sports.
Golf fans are an information hungry group demanding the latest scores and stats on things like yards driven, greens in regulation, longest drive and putting accuracy. Using global positioning technology, laser triangulation, and scores of volunteers following each player the PGA’s Shot Tracker system provides a bevy of rich information on every player of every tournament on every hole. A slick presentation makes the Shot Tracker perfect for the couch surfer or office-bound fan keeping track of their favorite players performance.
Social Networking – Facebook and Twitter
While the Shot Tracker and Fanzone remain the online meeting spot for PGA fans worldwide, the PGA is expanding to social networking to further engage its existing fans while expanding its reach to a new audience. The PGA can now be found on Facebook where they post interesting tidbits on tournament news, player performance, and post pictures and video links every day of tournament competition. Leveraging Facebook exposes the PGA to an estimated 200 million Facebook members – some who already know and love the PGA tour, others who are exposed for the first time to it. Twitter, the micro-blogging site instantly distributing small text-based messages (called tweets) to fans and blowout success of 2009, is now tweeting PGA updates with short messages such as “Singh now in lead at Colonial” to fans’ cellphones.
YouTube and Podcasts
The PGA Tour is also leveraging already popular technologies such as YouTube to post videos highlights of tournament action each day and posting podcasts (small audio files for listening on iPod’s and PCs) to it’s PGATour.com website, iTunes, and other media outlets.
PGATour.com, Widgets, and Email Updates
Lastly, the PGATour.com website provides widgets, daily email updates, and audio and video news on tournament play. Widgets are small “boxes” that can be embedded in websites or blogs and provide real-time tournament data in a compact form.
Information on the Go with Mobile Versions
It is now possible to get all of the aforementioned solutions available in the palm of your hand via your web-enabled cell phone. Especially popular for cell phones are Facebook, Twitter and the mobile PGA Tour website found at http://mobile.pgatour.com. Fans on the go, or on the course, will appreciate access to stats, schedules, player information, scores and news. Ironically, as PGA fans continue to flock to mobile websites for information possessing a cell phone on the course at a PGA tournament is grounds for removal.
Keeping Fans Engaged
Tools like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube keep PGA fans engaged. Fans follow their favorite players and really become a part of the PGA community, which enables the PGA Tour to extend their brand and offer advertising opportunities to sponsors. But it’s not just about advertising dollars. Customers are more demanding now and want more than just the core event experience – they want a multi-dimensional immersion in event action including web, mobile, social networking, and audio/video options.