The PGA TOUR has always been at the forefront of digital engagement and innovation. In collaboration with its longtime partner, iX.co, the TOUR continues to create news ways to engage with its global fan base.
Front Office Sports sat down with Phil Sharpe from iX.co and Scott Gutterman from the PGA TOUR to discuss the changing media habits of fans, the TOUR’s larger digital strategy, and new fan engagement innovations to look out for in 2021 and beyond.
On the balance of including betting and predictive gaming (21:40)
Scott: “Our rule of thumb right now is we aren’t going to put odds or betting in core places on the platform by default. If fans want to see it, we’ll make it available. We have a new odds leaderboard that’s available, but it’s a step away or a button away from the main leaderboard. Even though there’s a lot of people that want to place bets and understand the odds, there’s a lot of people that just want to consume golf. So again for us, it’s opt-in or one button away and we’ll promote to it.”
On how the PGA Tour is building a personalized fan experience (23:54)
Scott: “This year we’re going to be doing Every Shot Live all 4 days at The PLAYERS Championship. So Every Shot Live really for us is Every Group Live. We’re the only golf tournament that does this right now. You’ll be able to watch every single group, for every single hole and every shot they take throughout the entire day. We will show approximately 8 to 10 thousand shots every single day, so it’ll be somewhere between 30 and 40 thousand shots by the end of the weekend. All of those highlights, all those individual shots will be loaded into TOURCast as they come out.”
On the impact the pandemic has had on the game (40:47)
Scott: “I think we’re very fortunate to be a sport where you can get outside and be socially distanced and still be able to play and everybody can be very reasonably safe. There are a number of things that are in the works around the industry around continuing to build on that. The other thing that we’ve seen…is the diversity of people that are coming into the game and playing the game has been really encouraging. People have realized they don’t have to come out and play 18 holes, they can come out and play 9 holes…we encourage all of that.”
On the increased demand for modern digital engagement (46:09)
Phil: “One thing we’ve noticed, with many of our clients for example, and I know Scott and the TOUR have been doing this, is kind of [an increase around] social and fan engagement around the live event. It’s not just because people are not attending the live event as much, but because people I think have a desire to now engage more socially because we’re so isolated. So we’re seeing a real uptick in and a real demand both from sports properties themselves and from the sponsors to create these live event engagement experiences.”