PGA: All Tour TV Coverage Will be Simulcast Online and Via Mobile Apps in 2013

All the live coverage of PGA Tour events next season will be shown simultaneously on the tour’s digital platforms, including via its mobile apps and at the website, a tour executive said Wednesday.

In a phone interview with Luis Goicouria, the vice president of operations and business development for PGA Tour Digital, Goicouria said that for the 2013 season, all live tour TV coverage will be simulcast online, giving mobile and web-connected fans the same experience as those sitting in front of a TV. The expansion of live video content, Goicoura said, is a direct response to fans’ desire for more mobile content, especially live video of tournament play.

“Our [online + mobile] video content consumption is going through the roof,” said Goicouria, who said that tour-hosted video starts are up 81 percent so far this year over last, and YouTube views of archived videos has increased 94 percent in the same time frame. Currently, the Tour offers its “Live@” program for 10 selected tournaments during the season, typically the bigger ones like the recent Memorial tourney. The Live@ production is separate from and typically less comprehensive than any network coverage, though of similar production quality. According to Goicouria, the Live@ broadcasts typically attract between a half-million and a million video streams per event.

The Live@ coverage typically focuses on one or two “scoring” holes or signature holes, like the island green at the Players Championship. Though it doesn’t offer the breadth of coverage a typical network broadcast from partners Golf Channel, CBS, NBC or ESPN does, the Live@ shows aren’t chopped liver either.

“It’s not like we just slap a couple webcams on a green,” Goicouria said. “It’s a full-blown studio production.”

But Goicouria said the costs associated with such production keep the tour from rolling out Live@ at every stop. Unfortunately that leaves online-only or mobile-centric fans behind their counterparts on the couch when it comes to live video. Next season that ends, with the digital platforms (the website, as well as the iOS and Android apps) offering simulcasts of the live TV coverage, as well as Live@’s additional focus at the selected events.

Goicouria also said that the tour is working to make its addictive Shot Tracker feature (screen grab below) available for mobile devices, but didn’t yet promise a delivery date. Shot Tracker, which gives real-time updates on a tournament field by showing how far a player has hit a shot and how far he has left to the hole, can be mesmerizing, with players’ statuses constantly updating. The main reason it hasn’t been available for mobile platforms, Goicouria said, was due to the fact that the application was built with Adobe Flash, which isn’t supported on Apple devices like the iPhone or iPad.

“If there was one thing I wish we had for mobile that we don’t, it’s Shot Tracker,” said Goicouria, who pledged a “complete revamp” of the feature for next season.

Online Golf Back This Week: It’s All About the Island Green at The Players Championship

Call this an early version of “watching Golf this week” but we wanted to join in the leadup hype for what some call the “fifth major,” The Players Championship. The good news for those of us stuck at desks is that the PGA’s live online coverage, @Live, returns this week for the big-ticket players event.

There’s even an online “preview” show scheduled for Wednesday evening, from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Eastern. On Thursday and Friday @Live online coverage goes from 9 a.m. Eastern to 7 p.m., and on the weekend it’s Noon to 7 p.m. each day.

Though not as complete as the Masters online coverage, the PGA’s @Live broadcasts are pretty good, with all the camera angles and commentary you expect from a broadcast TV show. I hope there’s a 17th hole cam because this week is all about the Island Green. More viewing details later in the week.

No Surprise: PGA Sees Huge Leap in Online Video Consumption

Here at Mobile Sports Report we know that many of you like to watch golf online. We know that because basically anything we write about where to watch golf gets good traffic. Now the PGA has provided some facts to back up our observations: According to the PGA, viewership of its Live@ online live golf action coverage is up more than 100 percent compared to 2011, part of an overall traffic surge to the site.

Mobile app activity is also up by a triple-digit margin, thanks to the PGA’s excellent Android, iPhone and iPad apps. Some highlights from the press release:

• An all-time record quarter with more than 5.8 million average monthly unique users, up 40 percent vs. 2011.
• March 2012 set an all-time record with 7.5 million monthly unique users, an increase of 62 percent vs. March 2011.
• An increase of 105 percent for video consumption over last year.
• PGA TOUR mobile products have also seen triple digit growth (139 percent over last year).

Now what we need to see from the PGA is a more thorough and comprehensive online strategy — currently the tour only broadcasts select tournaments online — perhaps embracing the wonderful online coverage from the Masters and making that the PGA standard. An online fan can only hope.