The Masters. There are definitely people out there who don’t consider themselves “sports people”. However, I truly believe that ninety-five percent of the US population knows what The Masters is. It truly is a tradition unlike any other. It’s the one weekend a year where people don’t move from their couches because their eyes are glued to the TV due to golf. This prestigious event has been going on each Spring since 1934. There are few higher sports honors then putting on the green jacket. Champions such as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, and Tiger Woods have made Augusta, Georgia a national treasure. Although golf is a more polished and “old school” sport, August National, Inc. has kept up with the times and made the tournament more accessible to fans through the use of digital media.
One of the first things August National, Inc. (ANI) did to keep up with the modern age was make an application for mobile users. Users can learn about the course by going hole by hole on the interactive platform. Each hole is broken down into information about the layout, what par it is, how long the hole is, the history of how it received its name, and the gorgeous flora that is planted around the fairways and greens. It also provides beautiful pictures so users can associate the information with the hole when they watch the tournament live. Furthermore, the application is even more useful once the match begins. It has an updated leaderboard, the ability to track individual players, and watch the live coverage of ceremonies and individual holes. Although these aspects are great for user interaction, they are only useful once the games are underway. The news section is updated as the event gets closer and as the matches are played out. And finally, the players and tee times sections let the user look into the players’ performances and when everyone will begin their matches.
CBS Sports and ANI teamed up to have the live stream of the game available to customers. The Masters is available for streaming through YouTube TV which is $35 a month, however you can boondoggle this by trying the seven-day free trail at the beginning of the weekend. It is also available to users who have purchased Hulu with Live TV (what I presented on last class, ha!). Next, it is available through CBS All Access which is $6 per month but only gives the customer to CBS content. WatchESPN mobile app also provides highlights and partial live streams to any users with the app on their mobile device. Finally, it is available to stream on cbssports.com, but this requires users to log in with their cable provider information. Overall, it still costs most users some type of payment to watch the full live stream, however ANI is taking the right steps toward the cord cutting future of the younger generations.
The next step that ANI has taken to stay current is the “all in one place” updates to The Masters website for laptop/desktop users. This platform has essentially all of the same information as the mobile app, but with just more information. One of the interesting sections is about the patron info which details what is and what is not allowed at Augusta. For example, I didn’t know that no cell phones, cameras, or any other electronic devices were allowed on the grounds. This section also discusses the weather and attire that is to be expected at the event. Finally, the section on ticketing is only available on the website platform. This is a little bit of an odd section. Users must make an account to view the application process. Additionally, due to the high security, The Masters asks for the last four digits of your social security (which weirded me out). Once your application is received, users receive an email about the availability of the tickets once they are posted for purchase on the website.
In 2017, golf fans streamed a record 25.8 million total minutes of The Masters which was the highest streamed golf event ever. This year is projected to blow past that number, with a majority of the reason being that Tiger Woods is in contention and in Las Vegas bookmakers, he is the favorite to win the whole tournament. His last win at The Masters was in 2005, and his last major win was in 2008 at the U.S. Open. With all the hype of Tiger being back, there will definitely be a high viewership of the event. This Masters is going to be something special with the hope that we see the man in red and black on Sunday April 8th. If that doesn’t get you amped up to sit on your couch and do nothing for a weekend, check out the links below.