Leveraging TV Infrastructure Is Key to PGA Championship LIVE’s Sports Emmy Win

Last summer, the PGA Championship made a seemingly minor tweak to its rules, allowing spectators to bring phones onto the course for the first time ever. That “minor” concession opened the door for huge changes for PGA.com’s (run by Turner Sports) multiplatform experience, PGA Championship LIVE, and it bore fruit this month in the form of a Sports Emmy.

PGA Championship LIVE was honored with the Emmy in Outstanding New Approaches Sports Event Coverage at the ceremony held at New York’s Lincoln Center last week.

“The beauty of our partnership with the PGA is that, when we have the television property and the television rights along with all of the digital rights, it allows us to collaborate and really leverage the infrastructure that we have at the site from a TV-production standpoint,” says Jon Kropp, VP of business operations for Turner Sports, Golf. “So a lot of it, I think, is just the quality that goes into it, and, quite frankly, for a digital-only business, we get to tap into TV-like production budgets.”

Last year’s experience showcased a wealth of enhancements, including many app and mobile Web features designed specifically for fans attending the event. Having such a cohesive effort with the TV product also allowed PGA.com to produce a top-of-the-line experience for viewers at home. Among the first-time additions was a 360-degree camera designed and positioned specifically for the digital product to give fans a unique, behind-the-scenes, panoramic view of the course complete with natural sound.

It’s all about giving fans a multiplatform experience that gives them the feeling like they are at the event,” says Kropp. “So a lot of the new things that we try provide engagement for the fan, whether it be on broadband, mobile on the go, or mobile at the event.”

Both Kropp and PGA.com GM Gary Treator were on hand at the Emmy Awards ceremony last week and said the victory was a fulfilling one.

“Second time’s the charm,” laughed Treator, noting PGA Championship LIVE’s nomination two years ago. “There’s a lot of talented people here at Turner that put their heart and soul into this event. So my immediate thought was of all the people back in Atlanta that had put so many hours in and it’s nice for them to be recognized.”