ESPN+ to offer 4 streaming feeds in new PGA Tour deal

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KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) — Kapalua is busier than ever to begin the new yr, a growth that goes past the biggest winners-only subject in Hawaii and even followers returning to the Plantation Course.

ESPN+ begins its nine-year digital rights deal with the PGA Tour on the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

“PGA Tour Live on ESPN+” options reside protection on 4 simultaneous feeds from all 4 rounds, which provides greater than 3,200 new hours of reside streaming and a complete of greater than 4,300 unique hours over 35 tournaments.

“What fans are going to see is more than triple, almost quadruple the hours of coverage to choose from based on four new feeds,” mentioned Chris Wandell, vp of media enterprise growth on the PGA Tour.

ESPN+ was launched in April 2018 — the primary spherical of the RBC Heritage was the primary occasion streamed on the service — and now has upward of 17 million subscribers.

Viewers can be getting a greater deal at $6.99 a month, down from $9.99 a month on NBC Sports Gold and Amazon Prime, and much more choices.

The largest change is the menu.

The two featured teams can be on one of many ESPN+ channels. A second channel can be devoted to the “marquee group” that can be decided every match (trace: if Tiger Woods returns this yr, he doubtless can be in that group). That channel will present each shot from each participant.

A 3rd channel can be devoted to featured holes, primarily the par 3s or different pivotal holes, such because the tenth at Riviera, the seventeenth on the TPC Scottsdale or maybe the reachable par-4 twelfth gap on the TPC Sawgrass.

“Every player that comes through … you’ll see him play at least four holes,” Wandell mentioned.

The different channel can be thought-about the primary feed, a group of video pulled collectively from all the opposite channels. That basically can be a conventional presentation.

“It is significantly more content on one feed leveraging shots that are cut from each of the other three feeds,” Wandell mentioned. “So it will be a producer in a chair bouncing between group one, group two, group three and any of the four holes, to effectively create this really compelling channel for ESPN+ users.”

John Lasker, vp of digital media programming for ESPN, believes this would be the most engaged feed of the 4 channels based mostly on what ESPN has realized from doing the final two PGA Championships. He mentioned it will be most comparable to what viewers will see from community protection in the afternoon.

“It feels more traditional to the fan,” Lasker mentioned. “It has a more broader scope, gets you more golf shots, telling the story of the entire tournament.”

More content material would require 16 cameras throughout the course and a 15-person expertise crew calling the pictures on 4 separate channels. The weekly manufacturing crew, on website and from afar, is growing from about 85 individuals to greater than 210.

Along with extra content material, having ESPN concerned will lead to a bigger PGA Tour presence on spotlight reveals throughout linear channels, corresponding to “SportsCenter.” And it may not cease there. Lasker was requested if there have been plans to create a docuseries, related to the one on Tom Brady.

“We don’t have anything particular on the ESPN side planned right now,” Lasker mentioned. “But again, this is a nine-year partnership. I’d be surprised if we’re not investing in some complementary or robust or original content that’s PGA Tour-focused over time.”

MICKELSON MOMENT

Phil Mickelson didn’t waste any time sharing the excellent news when he tweeted final week that he was the winner of the Player Impact Program and its $8 million prize.

He additionally revealed that’s what prompted him to enter the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua for the primary time in 21 years. Part of the deal is for the PIP winner to play a match he hasn’t been to in a while, or a match agreed upon with the tour.

The tour has mentioned the award is just not official but as a result of it has to confirmed, although one tour official mentioned early projections had proven Tiger Woods too far behind going into the PNC Championship to catch Mickelson.

Given the metrics — web searches, media mentions, social media attain, tv rankings and Q-score — the result shouldn’t have been shocking.

Woods was in the information throughout his February automotive crash, after which aside from an interview with media associate Discovery, he wasn’t in the information once more till the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas (information convention and vary periods) and enjoying with 12-year-old son Charlie in the PNC Championship.

Perhaps the ability of Woods’ enchantment is that with so little time in the information, he nonetheless completed second.

ALL ABILITIES CHAMPS

Kapalua is internet hosting extra than simply PGA Tour winners this week.

The Sentry Tournament of Champions says the highest all-abilities golfers from 4 international locations have been invited to play in the inaugural ISPS Handa All Abilities Champions Playoff, which is able to happen through the opening two rounds.

On Thursday, the 4 gamers will tee off on the Bay Course at Kapalua as a foursome and play two 18-hole matches concurrently amongst one another. On Friday, they may play 9 holes of stroke play on the Bay Course after which the entrance 9 on the Plantation Course proper after the final group from the PGA Tour occasion has teed off.

The trophy presentation will happen on the ninth inexperienced.

The gamers have been chosen from prime all-abilities golf tournaments all over the world — Brendan Lawlor (World Invitational), Johan Kammerstad (Australian All Abilities Championship), Juan Postigo Arce (European Championship for Golfers with Disability) and Chad Peifer (U.S. Disabled Open).

Lawlor (*4*) an “unbelievable opportunity for us to put disability golf on the world stage.”

CINK AND SON

Stewart Cink is again at Kapalua with the remainder of final yr’s winners, and son Reagan returns as his caddie.

That wasn’t the plan when it began.

“Originally it was to do one tournament, but it was the Safeway Open, and that plan was quickly expanded into further into the year,” Cink mentioned.

He gained that Safeway Open in September 2020, they usually have been having a lot enjoyable collectively, they saved going. With Reagan getting married in July, they figured it was finest for the son to cease caddying after the Tour Championship.

“It’s just not a good way to start a marriage, for him on the road and for her working at home,” Cink mentioned. “Then she determined to take her job half time and find a way to journey extra with us. It was up to them. We weren’t going to stand in the best way of him saying, ‘I want to keep going and Olivia is going to start traveling.’ I wouldn’t have it another manner. We’re having a blast.

DIVOTS

Nelly Korda begins the new yr at No. 1 in the ladies’s world rating. It’s her twenty sixth week atop the rating, essentially the most of any American participant. She had been tied with Stacy Lewis. The report is 158 weeks at No. 1 by Lorena Ochoa. … Sam Burns begins the new yr by shifting into the highest 10 for the primary time due to the rolling, two-year formulation. … Tony Finau, Patrick Reed and Matthew Wolff are among the many newest to commit to play in the Saudi International. To get releases from the PGA Tour, they have to agree to play the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am no less than as soon as over the subsequent three years. The match additionally says the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia would be the occasion’s new title sponsor.

STAT OF THE WEEK

The whole purse of the Tournament of Champions in 1997 when Tiger Woods gained it for the primary time was $1.2 million. The winner of this week’s Tournament of Champions will get $1.476 million.

FINAL WORD

“For the first time in years, I feel like I’ve got some momentum.” — Jordan Spieth on beginning the new yr.

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For extra AP golf protection: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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