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PGA Tour, Twitter unveil multicast fan-engagement initiative

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The PGA Tour and social-media platform Twitter have teamed up to create an innovative live content fan-engagement initiative to mark the golf circuit’s return to competition this week.

The Charles Schwab Challenge – which will take place at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, from June 11-14 – will herald the PGA Tour’s comeback from the enforced Covid-19 pandemic hiatus.

During the opening round on June 11, the PGA Tour and Twitter will host a “Twitter Multicast,” which will be broadcast from approximately 1-2.30pm ET in conjunction with PGA Tour Live’s featured groups coverage.

The “Twitter Multicast” will feature nine different video streams across more than 20 Twitter accounts. Each stream will carry PGA Tour Live featured groups coverage complemented with live audio and video commentary from athletes, celebrities, and other personalities, who will provide their point of view on the return of the Tour. Participants include trick shot group Dude Perfect, Hootie & The Blowfish frontman Darius Rucker, and former pro golfer Annika Sorenstam, among others.

The streams will cover pre-game, practice sessions, and the first two holes of competition of top players such as Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, and Jordan Spieth.

The initiative has been described as “a first-of-its kind for the social media platform.”

“The PGA Tour is proud to be among the first major sports leagues to return to competition,” said Rick Anderson, the PGA Tour’s chief media officer. “With no spectators on site, we want to work harder than ever to connect our fans to the event, across numerous platforms and devices in addition to the PGA Tour Live, Golf Channel and CBS broadcasts. Working with Twitter on this all-new fan engagement initiative is a nod to how important fans are to the Tour and our players.”

TJ Adeshola, Twitter’s head of US sports partnerships, added: “This first-ever ‘Twitter Multicast’ will give golf fans a viewing experience they won’t find anywhere else. By adding conversation and commentary from a range of Twitter notables to premium golf content, the Multicast will have something for everyone, regardless if you’re looking for real-time reactions, analysis or just some laughs to pair with live footage from Colonial. This is a prime example of how to create a richer, more customized fan experience through the power of Twitter.”

A number of competitors at this week’s Charles Schwab Challenge will wear microphones in order to improve the broadcast experience of the first event back on the PGA Tour in the wake of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Following the success of putting microphones on Tom Brady, Phil Mickelson, Peyton Manning and Tiger Woods during “The Match” sequel, CBS will look to do the same with some competitors at Colonial as the broadcaster looks to enliven an event that will be held without any spectators.

To help deal with the health and safety protocols, CBS will also introduce an “inside the ropes” segment that will involve players walking into a tent and answer a printed question to an unattended camera during the tournament.

Meanwhile, the PGA Tour will hold a minute’s silence at 8.46 am local time at the Charles Schwab Challenge and the Korn Ferry Tour event at TPC Sawgrass during every round to honor the memory of George Floyd.

The chosen time corresponds to the eight minutes and 46 seconds Floyd was pinned to the ground under a police officer’s knee before he died on May 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The incident has sparked significant social unrest in the United States and overseas.

The PGA Tour said it was “amplifying the voices and efforts under way to end systemic issues of racial and social injustices impacting our country.”

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