The PGA Tour began teeing up its new digital offerings with a limited release of its overhauled application Tuesday, to be followed by a redesigned website in mid-December and the formal unveiling of both during the Sentry Tournament of Champions in January.
Vice president of digital product development Eric Hanson told Adweek the golf organization is “at the start line of the next iteration of the PGA Tour’s digital experience.”
PGA Tour senior vp of digital operations Scott Gutterman told Adweek the new app has roughly three times as much content and information as its predecessor and pointed to the big video at the top, saying the idea was to tap into vertical video to help promote players and their stories.
“One of the great things about our sport is that we play in beautiful places,” he said, noting the larger photos in the updated app.
The app helps fans follow their favorite players on the PGA Tour through near-real-time highlights, reliving rounds in an Instagram Stories-like format and diving into statistics.
Gutterman said fans will be able to relate to players more once they open their profiles on the revamped app, with its big and bold imagery, adding, “When you go to a tournament, these players are 300 yards away from you. All you can see is their clothing and their hat.”
Fans can also connect their accounts for gaming, streaming and tickets and consolidate them across all of the PGA Tour’s platforms.
The organization’s in-house team has been working on the initiative for more than one year with the aim of creating a more immersive experience and bringing fans closer to its courses, players and tournaments, as well as incorporating a cleaner look, enhanced storytelling, deep data and rich visuals, all while improving load speeds.
The PGA Tour surveyed fans and players across the globe about their use of its digital platforms and incorporated those findings into its product roadmap and strategy to define the necessary features and build the underlying infrastructure to support them, such as by developing in-house software to translate its ShotLink scoring data and shot tracking in order to quickly update the mobile app and website user experience.
Contributions from the PGA Tour’s official marketing partners included:
- Adobe provided content tools that are used to analyze, create, edit and publish digital content, as well as analytics tools to measure the performance of that content.
- Amazon Web Services provided cloud services and infrastructure for faster delivery of content, data and video.
- CDW powers real-time data collection and scoring system ShotLink.
- Qualtrics provided an experience management platform to analyze fan and player feedback.
“We are working on how partners are represented in the new products as they are launching,” PGA Tour vp of advertising strategy and operations Raef Godwin told Adweek, noting that the organization’s business is based on corporate partnerships, and it does not do a lot of ad sales.
Integration within the app is a focus, with Godwin providing the example of TaylorMade sponsoring the app as a whole, while other partners sponsor different sections.
Gutterman chimed in, saying that the new app was configured to enable his team to put ads wherever it wants them and move them into different positions that allow data and information to flow efficiently, as well as to accommodate potential advertisers in areas such as fantasy sports and sports gambling.
Godwin said every single ad slot will have the capability of delivering rich media, and the PGA Tour is working with advertisers to ensure that they make the most of their opportunities on its platforms.
The opportunity for edge-to-edge video is there, he added, as well as the chance to tailor ad units to individual users’ experiences, such as when a majority of users are going to where a specific player is on the leaderboard.
And from the organization’s vendors:
- Captech helped build the middleware software solutions that power the mobile app and website.
- Ensemble provided website development support and quality assurance.
- Shockoe provided mobile app development support and quality assurance.
- Work & Co led fan research to uncover the insights that drove design, product development and product strategy of the app and website, along with providing development support for both platforms.
On tap in the coming months, new elements of the organization’s TOURCast will be added to the app, giving fans access to features such as 3D shot trails, and augmented reality and other new features will be incorporated, as well.
Gutterman elaborated, saying that in the coming year, hole photos will be replaced with high-resolution drone videos.
A new on-site venue experience is slated for this spring, which includes turn-by-turn directions, with Gutterman noting, “We equate a golf course to something where you really need a map to get around.”