NBC Sports, Topgolf Collaborate on Partnership With Toptracer Shot Tracking Technology
Topgolf Entertainment Group and NBC Sports Group announced a new strategic technology partnership designed to bring golf fans closer to the sport through enhanced PGA Tour tournament coverage and modernizing experiences at local golf facilities through the technology of Toptracer. The announcement was made jointly by Erik Anderson, Topgolf executive chairman and Ben Sharpe, Toptracer president; along with Mike McCarley, president, Golf, NBC Sports and Will McIntosh, executive vice president of strategy, Golf, NBC Sports.
“Topgolf has always been committed to bettering the industry through technology, be that enhancing the guest experience at our venues, improving PGA Tour broadcasts through innovations like Toptracer, or helping driving range operators transform their facilities into entertainment destinations with Toptracer Range,” says Sharpe. “This partnership further enhances our efforts to provide golf fans exciting ways to watch, play, and enjoy this wonderful game.”
“Topgolf and NBC Sports are two companies focused on technical innovation across the golf industry,” says McCarley. “This forward-thinking partnership allows us to combine our strengths to modernize how fans engage with golf. We’re thrilled to expand our partnership for high-quality PGA Tour coverage, but we’re equally excited to showcase technology like Toptracer Range for golf courses to help evolve the golf experience for the future and bring new fans to the sport.”
Exclusive Technology for NBC Sports’ PGA Tour Telecasts
Topgolf and NBC Sports’ new multi-year agreement includes the expansion of Toptracer as the exclusive ball-tracking technology for NBC Sports’ PGA Tour telecasts on Golf Channel and NBC, as well as Golf Central wraparound news coverage from golf’s biggest events. In addition, Topgolf and NBC Sports will collaborate on future programming and content development initiatives.
NBC Sports will now have the capability to utilize Toptracer on all 18 holes during its PGA Tour coverage in 2019 starting with the Waste Management Phoenix Open (Jan. 31-Feb. 3). Toptracer will be featured during tee shots either via live video or via NBC Virtual Follow, a live trace over a graphic representation of the hole. Toptracer also will be featured on fairway shots via two radio frequency (RF) cameras that can travel anywhere on the course. Topgolf’s premier driving range technology, Toptracer Range, also will be the exclusive shot-tracking technology for Golf Central wraparound news coverage on-site on the driving ranges from golf’s biggest events.
Toptracer technology tracks the flight of a golf ball within a camera feed, as well as provides real-time 3D ball flight data analytics such as ball speed, apex, curve, and carry that is integrated into virtual graphics.
GolfNOW and Topgolf Collaborate on Toptracer Range
As part of this new partnership with NBC Sports Group, GolfNOW and Topgolf’s sales teams will collaborate to introduce Toptracer Range to golf facilities worldwide.
Toptracer Range helps traditional facilities attract both avid and novice players by transforming driving ranges into practice and entertainment destinations. It combines tech and fun to create a superior experience that is perfect for all skill levels, allowing friends and family to compete in a variety of games or play virtual golf on simulated courses.
Cameras mounted around the facility interact with in-bay monitors to display an array of details on each shot, providing data similar to what is seen each week on the PGA Tour. The information is instantly recorded and displayed on the screen through a player profile that can continuously be accessed via the Toptracer Range community application (free on iOS and Android). This allows golfers to track their progress throughout the season.
“Golf is growing, in part, because people are consuming the sport in different ways, and we’re in the business of helping our golf course partners leverage these new concepts to attract more golfers to their facilities and build their businesses,” says McIntosh. “Toptracer Range is a perfect example, and we’re looking forward to showcasing this new technology to our partners around the world.”
GolfNOW will now sell Toptracer Range as part of its offerings, providing golf facilities with the same ball-tracking technology that traces the shots of the game’s best players on television and further expanding Topgolf’s footprint to golf facilities worldwide. This initiative will complement the recent integration of Topgolf into GolfNOW’s website and mobile application, which currently allows more than 3.5 million registered users to book reservations at select Topgolf venues through its world’s largest online tee-time platform. GolfNOW helps golfers and golf courses better connect through the world’s largest online tee-time marketplace – which facilitated the booking of more than 16 million rounds of golf in 2018 – and via the technology and services it provides to its nearly 8,000 golf course partners in 26 countries around the world.