USGA’s Revamped USOpen.com Provides Exclusive Live Streaming
Just in time for the 112th edition of the U.S. Open Championship, the United States Golf Association (USGA) launched a redesigned usopen.com, offering a wealth of new features and functionality intended to give a complete digital viewing experience for fans.
Included in the new design is the implementation of live streaming video. Users can watch live streams of marquee groups during the first and second rounds. Streaming-video coverage of selected holes will also be available on Saturday and Sunday.
Usopen.com also has the digital exclusive on streaming of the pairing featuring Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and reigning Masters champ Bubba Watson.
ESPN’s ITV team is handling production of the live streams as it has done for the Website since 2001.
The exclusive live offering this year, however, is a notable step for usopen.com and offers an opportunity for the USGA to drive traffic to the event’s official site.
“The biggest challenge to live streaming is handling the bandwidth demands created by an audience of unknown size,” says Bill Lacey, manager, digital media development, USGA. “A well produced Webcast with compelling content will quickly attract viewers, creating an enormous demand for bandwidth. The ability to expand our infrastructure to avoid impacting the viewer experience is critical to what we do.”
To help handle the load, USGA has partnered with IBM, using its cloud computing technology, which, besides live video, adds live scoring, interactive PlayTracker, and access to Web and mobile applications.
“We’re collaborating with the USGA to connect fans to the U.S. Open, no matter where they are located,” says Rick Singer, VP of client executive marketing for IBM, the official Information Technology partner of the USGA. “Our goal is to help golf fans feel like they’re on the course and part of the action in every round.”
“Our technology partnership with IBM and their experience with high-visibility–event hosting has enabled us to flawlessly meet these demands and to consistently deliver what we feel is the best sports video-streaming experience each and every year,” adds Lacey.
Additional features of usopen.com include:
- PlayTracker Presented by IBM: An interactive leader board with graphic, dynamic representation of groups on the overall course map. Users can look up statistics, access scoring and trending information, and compare a player’s current stats with his previous rounds’ or with other players’.
- Enhanced Course Profile: Videos of the Lake Course, featuring flyover hole descriptions by USGA Executive Director Mike Davis.
- Social Media: A page on usopen.com devoted to live updates of aggregated tweets from @USGA and @usopengolf, as well as from players and broadcasters. In addition, fans will be invited to connect with each other by using the #usopengolf hashtag and by sharing their U.S. Open experiences, comments, and photos at Facebook.com/usopengolf.
- Virtual U.S. Open: Online game enabling fans to play the course at The Olympic Club. Developed in association with World Golf Tour, the Virtual U.S. Open will allow users to experience golf’s toughest test. Players who make the cut will qualify for a chance to win airfare, lodging, and tickets to the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, PA.
- U.S. Open Mobile Application: Fans on the go can access live video, photos, real-time scoring, and tweets on Android, iPhone, and tablet devices.