Turner Sports Offers Extensive New Media Coverage of PGA Championship

--Offerings Include Live Streaming Player with Twitter/Facebook/MySpace Integration, iPhone App
--Also Invites Viewers to Determine Which Players to Feature

Turner Sports offered a range of interactive and social features to supplement its coverage of last week's PGA Championship, including the broadband video coverage that it offered on PGA.com as part of its long-term deal with the PGA of America (note: the Turner Sports-PGA partnership, which was formed in 2002, was recently extended through 2019).

Before and during the championship, all of Turner's TNT television announcers for the event, as well as PGA.com on-air talent and various local PGA Club Professionals, provided commentary via Twitter. Their comments were featured on PGA.com's Twitter feed (@pga_com), on the PGA.com Web site, and on the site's new live video player, the PGA Championship Live Player; and the service also received on-air promotion on TNT. Those tweeting included TNT's Ernie Johnson, Ian Baker-Finch, Billy Kratzert and Jim Huber, and PGA.com's Marc Fein, Craig Sager, Michael Breed and Brian Katrek.

In addition, the Gigya Socialize API was used to enable viewers of the PGA.com live video player to comment on the action on the course and interact with one another, using their Twitter, Facebook and MySpace accounts. The Gigya platform allowed comments from the three social networking services to be aggregated into a single chat area on the player. Users could select between viewing comments from all other users or just from their social-network friends. "Using social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace to engage and inform a more diverse audience fits perfectly with The PGA of America and PGA.com's strategy to bring younger people closer to the game," Matthew Hong, Turner Sports' VP and general manager of sports digital, said in a prepared statement. "What better venue to get involved in social media than at the PGA's premier event of the year?"

In addition to its chat capabilities, the PGA Championship Live Player offered four channels of coverage (three live and one on-demand) that could be watched individually, or simultaneously via picture-in-picture technology. The channels were:

  • "Marquee Group Follow," which followed select groups of players during their rounds. The first group was selected by PGA.com; however, the second group (Anthony Kim, Adam Scott and Ryo Ishikawa) was selected by fans voting in a PGA.com poll. The channel also featured two marquee groups during the championship's final two rounds, "marking," Turner Sports said "the first time ever the [PGA.com] site will follow more than one group for four days of the event."
  • "Par 3" which featured close-up footage of golfers playing the challenging Par 3's on holes 4, 8, 13 and 17.
  • A simulcast of TNT's production, which aired on Thursday and Friday from 2:00PM to 5:00PM Eastern, preceded by an hour of bonus coverage.
  • "Inside the Ropes," an on-demand channel that featured PGA professionals, Michael Breed and Mike Schultz, providing hole-by-hole analysis of how players needed to play the course in order to win.

In addition, a $1.99 PGA Championship iPhone/iPod touch application was offered through the Apple App Store. The app, which was sponsored by financial services provider ING, was billed as the first to utilize features offered by the iPhone OS 3.0 software update to cover a major golf tournament. Among other things, it provided customized push notifications, allowing fans to receive instant alerts about their favorite players' progress in five categories (Round Beginning, Round Completion, Double Bogeys and higher, Birdies & Eagles and Hole-by-Hole Updates), live video of marquee groups for all four days of play, live video of the so-called Par 3 holes, video highlights, player information, and a customizable leaderboard with live scoring.

Live streaming for both PGA.com and the iPhone app was powered by Akamai.

North America