PGA TOUR Live OTT Subscription Service Launches With Support From MLBAM
Just days after Jordan Spieth’s historic victory at The Masters golf tournament in April, the 22-year-old phenom was enjoying a day for the ages in the second round at the RBC Heritage. That Friday morning, Spieth shot a 61 and was, at one point, on pace to shoot a staggering round of 59. The golf world was buzzing — and yet no one off the course in Hilton Head, SC, saw it.
That won’t happen in the future, thanks to the PGA TOUR Live OTT subscription service, which debuted this month at the Quicken Loans National. The direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service, developed in partnership with MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM), will provide fans access to live coverage of two Thursday- and Friday-morning marquee tournament rounds that have never been available live.
“This product is an idea that we’ve had for a long time just due to the nature of our sport,” says Rick Anderson, EVP, global media, PGA TOUR. “We’ve known this was a big opportunity for some time. When we really started thinking about it in earnest, the BAM team was at the top of our list of people we wanted to have help us bring our product to life.”
In addition to live-streaming access, the app offers real-time scoreboards, virtual hole descriptions, highlights, and a lot more.
“We’re fortunate to be a very data-rich sport, and so we’ve incorporated a lot of real-time data that helps tell the story of what’s going on,” says Anderson. “We’ve been really thrilled with the first couple of weeks of production.”
The production that provides live content to the app is almost completely independent. On PGA TOUR tournament weekends, it’s the responsibility of the broadcaster (CBS or NBC) to set up the production compound in anticipation of its coverage on Saturday and Sunday and also produce Thursday- and Friday-afternoon coverage for Golf Channel. Inside the compound is a smaller mobile unit producing the morning coverage of the featured groups for PGA TOUR Live. The production uses its own RF cameras and camera operators but can access a selected group of camera feeds from the linear production.
The live production is shot and directed onsite, and feeds are sent to PGA Tour Entertainment in St. Augustine, FL, where final mixing and production are done. The finished video product is sent to various digital platforms via MLBAM’s infrastructure.
Though not in action during this weekend’s PGA Championship, PGA TOUR Live has five tournaments remaining in the 2014-15 PGA TOUR season. Next year, its first full season, will feature more than 30 events. The service is currently available on desktops/laptops at PGATourLive.com and on iOS devices via the PGA TOUR Live app.
The service was initially available through a special seven-day free trial on iPhone, iPad, and desktop/laptop platforms (at PGATourLive.com). Fans will now be able to follow the game’s biggest names with full coverage from a dedicated broadcast team leading up to Golf Channel’s afternoon telecasts. PGA TOUR Live initially will be available in the U.S., Canada, Ireland, Australia, and the UK. Other markets will follow.