PGA Tour teams up with AWS to improve fan engagement during tournaments

by Joseph K. Clark

The PGA Tour is teaming up with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to revamp the viewing experience for golf fans through machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data analytics technologies.

The partnership will see the PGA Tour draw on the public cloud giant’s portfolio of services to process and distribute video footage from each golf tournament it oversees while making it easier for fans to engage with that content.

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“The Tour captures hundreds of hours of raw footage at each tournament and will leverage AWS to rapidly transform this content into exciting new digital experiences that provide fans with a more complete and personalized experience,” PGA Tour and AWS said in a joint statement.

For example, the pair are planning to bring out an over-the-top (OTT) streaming platform – powered by AWS – called Every Shot Live that will provide viewers with live access to every shot played by each player in a tournament.

“During a tournament like The Players Championship, fans will have access to more than 32,000 shots from a starting field of 144 golfers. Fans can choose to follow any player in real-time and experience each shot via streaming content,” the statement added.

The AWS-PGA Tour tech collaboration will also allow fans to choose how they view the tournament by enabling them to use video-game-like controls to change camera angles, navigate the course, and view game stats on-demand.

The golf tournament organizers have also signed up to use AWS’s array of media services to reduce the time it takes video content from tournaments to make it to television.

“To accomplish this, the Tour will use AWS to simultaneously process and distribute OTT content, formatting it for reliable viewing over a variety of delivery platforms and devices, including smartphones and tablets,” the two companies said. “Using AWS Media Services, the Tour will make tournament footage available globally to authenticated broadcasters, content subscribers from AWS, and other sources.”

The PGA Tour also has designs on building a data lake using the Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) that will be used to house real-time tournament video content and other historic multimedia content from golf tournaments that have taken place over the past century or so.

This content will include video, audio, and images dating back to the 1928 Los Angeles Open. The Amazon Rekognition deep learning image recognition service will be processed to be tagged with specific metadata to make it easier to locate the review package up.

AWS CEO Andy Jassy said the PGA Tour joins a long list of other sports organizations which now entrust the firm and its cloud with their data to enhance the viewing experience for fans.

“The partnership and experience we create with the Tour will be unique. Unlike other sports, there’s more than one ball in play on a golf course, which makes it harder for fans to follow how every player is performing,” he continued.

“Our collaboration with the Tour will change the way fans connect with the sport by giving them real-time access to virtually every moment on the course and letting them determine how they experience the game,” added Jassy.

“This transformational partnership with AWS will allow our fans to experience the PGA Tour like never before,” said PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan.

“Growing and diversifying our fan base is a top priority for us, and thanks to the collaboration and innovation from AWS, we are creating more ways to experience the game of golf while personalizing our content to enable fans to engage with the tournaments and players they support.”

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