Turner Sports’ PGA Championship Plans Cater to Fans in Venue and Out
For the second consecutive year, fans attending the PGA Championship will be permitted to carry and use mobile devices in selected areas of the course. This relatively small rule change has paid dividends for Turner Sports, which took advantage of last year’s in-venue cellphone-wielding masses with its PGA Championship mobile experience and netted a Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding New Approaches, Sports Event Coverage.
The PGA Championship app, which is available for iOS devices, and the PGA.com mobile Website will allow spectators at the 94th PGA Championship — taking place Aug. 9-12 at Ocean Course in Kiawah Island, SC — to locate their favorite golfers, find out which golfers are playing which holes, and receive push notifications for breaking news occurring throughout the weekend.
PGA Championship LIVE, PGA.com’s broadband video player, will once again feature multiple live video streams that follow marquee groups and selected par-3 holes. Turner Sports will deploy a dedicated production truck, a B unit, and two RF cameras to serve the PGA Championship LIVE production.
“We’ve got a pretty good formula,” says Gary Treater, senior director of business operations, PGA.com. “We’ve been able to create a broadcast-quality production because we really look at it as an extension of our broadcast. So all the equipment, all the talent, everything is the same as we would do if we were broadcasting over the air.”
PGA.com’s Live Insider will supplement PGA Championship LIVE’s marquee-group coverage by providing live-action updates, photos, and video links through the interactive scoreboard. Video clips can also be accessed through PGA.com’s Video Highlights Hub, which allows fans to search and browse by player, round, hole, or memorable moment from the PGA Championship. Turner Sports producers and editors will be on hand to tag and add metadata to the incoming feed, quickly creating clips and highlights from the live stream.
“People can, if they’re sitting on a hole and looking at the leaderboard, follow this live action and know what’s going on,” Treater explains. “There’s a lot for the fans on course to keep up on what’s happening around the course if they want to kind of park themselves in one place and just watch.”
However, the PGA Championship mobile experience isn’t intended solely for those lucky enough to attend the event. Turner increased its infrastructure in the media center in order to stream this week’s press conferences live to PGA.com.
This year, PGA.com will debut Social Caddy, a social destination for the PGA Championship including integration with Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram that will tie into the linear broadcast.
“We’re going to create a social scorecard or social leaderboard and monitor the trending chatter within the social platform, and be able to display that in a graphic on PGA Championship LIVE as well as TNT,” says Treater. “Viewers on TNT or PGA Championship LIVE will see a graphic on who’s leading the social leaderboard and then be able to click over and go to PGA.com and see a more in-depth representation of all things that are happening in the social world.”
In addition, the site will launch Predict It, an interactive experience tied into PGA Championship LIVE that will provide fans the opportunity to predict the outcome of various situations and see voting results in real time.
Turner Tees Up Coverage on TNT
Turner Sports has presented the PGA Championship for 22 consecutive years. TNT, which has televised the event for the past 14 years, will show 18 hours of exclusive live action, including six hours each day on Thursday and Friday, Aug. 9-10 (1-7 p.m. ET), and early live coverage on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 11-12 (11 a.m.-2 p.m.).
TNT will once again leverage the technical-production infrastructure put in place by CBS Sports while providing its own talent and producer/director. TNT’s announce team will include host Ernie Johnson, analysts Ian Baker-Finch and Billy Kratzert, and reporter Vince Cellini.
Says Coordinating Director Steve Fiorello, “[TNT’s production] is pretty much directed and coordinated through our coordinating golf producer, Chris Carmody, who works closely with the CBS [team] [to] get our message, our branding, our formats, and what we want to convey during the tournament across to our CBS counterparts, and they do a majority of the execution.”
This year, Turner’s linear production will tie into the digital efforts, with elements of PGA.com and PGA Championship LIVE appearing in the TNT broadcast: specifically, the PGA Championship app’s player-follow feature and social-media leaderboard.