How is the PGA Championship transforming spectator experience? Interview with Jeff Price, CCO, PGA of America

A few weeks ago we caught up with Jeff Price, Chief Commercial Officer, PGA of America, in advance of his speaker role at the 200 speaker Sports Performance Data & Fan Engagement Summit in San Francisco to talk a little more about how the PGA Championship is developing consumer digital experience.

Investment in broadcasting technologies has transformed spectator experience and allowed thrilling performances at top-tier sporting events available on multiple platforms and formats. How can multiple digital platforms (eg. second screen, competition apps) add value for sponsors and boost revenue?

It all starts with the consumer experience. For most of the 100 year history of the PGA championship fans have been able to see only what was right in front of them - at the course or on their TV. With 18 different stages across 18 holes, we can now take fans at the course, in their home or on the go to the action they want to see. Engaged consumers create tremendous value for marketers and we’re just beginning to unlock the revenue potential there.

This summer, the PGA and Twitter announced a live streaming deal to expand the digital reach of the US championship. How does a live streaming capability present a range of new sponsorship opportunities for the PGA to capitalize on?

That was a terrific test in the United Kingdom that delivered solid results. as we head into our negotiations in the us, the concept of live streaming and “tv everywhere” is fundamental to our negotiating strategy. We have three objectives: create the best viewer experiences possible, build the broadest distribution possible and drive significantly increased monetization across all channels of distribution.

How will new immersive digital technologies - such as virtual and augmented reality - create more value for sports broadcasting and add new revenue streams for sports?

We’ve seen some really interesting applications for virtual and augmented reality in golf both from a playing perspective and for fans as well. Still too early to say exactly what the monetization strategy will be as we first need to get the user experience right and scaled.

What is the PGA doing to enhance fan experiences live (i.e on the golf course)? And how is this bringing value to your sponsors and increasing gate receipts?

Over the next three years you will see a huge emphasis from the pga on improving the spectator experience at our championships. We were the first major championship to allow mobile devices. We now have to make sure that we leverage those devices as a part of an overall fan experience that brings engagement with our partners and dramatically improves the spectator experience. Delivering against those goals will directly drive revenue growth with partners and spectators alike.

Our San Francisco Sports PDFE summit will be inviting over 100 different sports to share their experiences and work in fan engagement and commercial strategies. Has there been any approaches in the sporting world which have particularly impressed you over the last 12 months and why?

I’ve been fascinated by the explosion of e-Sports in the last 12 months. I can’t say that I personally “get it” but you can’t deny the engagement levels. Interesting to see what it could mean for golf.

Finally, what are you hoping to share and who do you hope to network with at our Sports Performance Data and Fan Engagement Summit in San Francisco next January?

My hope is to tell the story of a traditional rich sport that is embracing new technology and data in exciting ways. I’m hoping to meet others who might want to help us make this migration a reality.

For more information on the summit visit
www.sports-performance-fan-engagement.com