I had the privilege to speak with Gary Treater, GM of PGA.com for Turner Sports about today’s PGA tournament- which you can now stream live HERE. It’s an exciting day so far and Gary shared his insight on what keeps fans so excited about the sport:
Jay: Last night the Baltusrol Lower Course saw over two inches of rain. Do you think the wet grounds will affect the game?
Gary: To tell you the truth Jay, the grounds crew here are so professional they get the course ready so well I don’t think it’s going to make such a difference. In fact, I know that many players think that when the grounds are wet they have an advantage. It forces them to stay laser focused and their mental toughness is able to help them perform at a really high level. Just take a look at Jordan Spieth who’s off and running. I think it’s going to be a great tournament today.
Jay: So many sports struggle to maintain their fan base and keep the sport popular. What makes the game of golf so exciting and attracting to fans?
Gary: I think one major aspect which is different about golf is that there are so many players on the course. For example, today there are 156 players on the course so there is always tons of action. While the game take about 4 plus hours to play, we have found that on our digital channels, fans have an average of over 3 hours watching the live stream. On mobile it’s a little less because people tend to toggle between different things all the time, but there’s always a great story taking place around the game of golf and the fans love taking part in it.
Jay: That’s quite a stat to have fans dialed in on social media for over 3 hours! Has the explosive dominance of social media changed the way broadcast the game?
Gary: It absolutely has, and quite frankly the social media world has impacted every business, which is the main reason why we created a new app where you can watch a live stream of the PGA tournament from anywhere. Just check it out right on our site HERE and you’ll see. It’s amazing how much social media can add. Our main goal is to make sure fans not only enjoy the sport but are able to interact and share their experiences on social media, as long as it doesn’t interrupt the sport. For example, in basketball or football fans take pictures all the time during a game. However, in golf if your phone is ringing or you’re taking a picture with a flash it can really ruin the concentration of a player. To accommodate that, we developed the Golf Mode. As soon as you get on the course you can switch your phone on to the Golf Mode which will turn off your flash and your ringer. That way fans can enjoy the experience and share it without disturbing the game.
Jay: I’ve always believed that there is a tremendous amount of talent that players have beyond their athleticism. The leadership, toughness etc. that it takes to play on such a high level many times goes unnoticed. What are some of talents you see in golf that these players have?
Gary: That’s a great point Jay and I think what’s amazing about golf is the tenacity that players have. In golf you can never have a bad day and rely on the fact that your teammates will pitch in. It’s all about your performance every time you step on the course, so you can never afford to be anything less than razor sharp. There’s also no team support like you have in other sports. When you’re on the course, it’s all about you! These guys get a tremendous amount of credit for the amazing mental toughness they bring to the game!
Gary is an experienced sports / golf industry executive with consistently high achievement in a variety of corporate settings including consumer products, sports league interactive media properties, event marketing, and non-profit foundations. Product Development: experienced in taking consumer and interactive media products from strategic planning, research, and conceptual stages through development, sourcing / manufacturing, marketing, launch, and sales execution. Business Development: proven ability to generate revenue through strategic relationships and new business initiatives. Excellent communication and client management skills. Brand Management: extensive knowledge and experience in brand and product management and developing licensing programs. Management: qualified in all aspects of general and project management, strategic planning, marketing, purchasing, out-sourcing, shipping/receiving, warehousing and international relations.