PGA.com was on hand at the Ryder Cup this week, producing its own coverage of holes 3, 7, 12 and 17 out of Turner Sport’s Crave truck, complete with telstrator, an EVS replay server, graphics playout, and a Broadcast Pix production switcher. The only thing missing? Full control over cameramen as the 30-person production team had access to NBC Sports camera feeds but not the ability to call the shots.
“We did have one of our own RF cameras with [analyst] Craig Sager on different holes but we were at the mercy of NBC’s cameras,” says Matt Mosteller, Turner Sports producer. “So we may have had a swish pan but we tried to keep those limited.”
With only four holes of coverage and no more than four matches occurring at any one time during the first two days the PGA.com production team also had to stack up highlights and recaps to fill time in case one of the groups was delayed. CNN also supplied newsbreaks three times a day that was produced in Atlanta and made available in the Crave production unit.
“We were also feeding t the Ryder Cup Live app which had our on-air feed, radio coverage, and video highlights,” adds Mosteller.
Operating out of a full production trailer and also having access to an RF camera, a first for the PGA.com team, is proof positive of the growing importance of non-traditional broadcast operations.
“We have always been limited by the availability of RF frequencies so to have an RF camera and a reporter on the course is nice and a bonus for us,” says Mosteller. “A few years ago we were operating out of a small trailer but…now we are getting bigger and people are seeing the importance of it,” says Mosteller.
The PGA.com team also was located at the Media Center where they would handle some of the social media aspects of the site (including the 13th Man, where fans could offer their thoughts) and the ability to have fans vote on questions like whether or not Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley should have played on Saturday afternoon (it was a landslide in the affirmative as of Saturday afternoon).
On the social front, Rydercup.com will offer a “Tweet Battle” between Team U.S.A. and Team Europe. A “Social Scoreboard,” online and at the course, will show which team is winning the global social conversation by counting the number of fans using the respective hashtags – #RyderCupUSA or #RyderCupEurope. Fans also can engage throughout the Ryder Cup competition across other social platforms including Facebook, GetGlue, Instagram, Viddy, Pinterest and Goggle+.
The efforts, says Mosteller, are all designed to get the Internet video production on par with the TV side.
“We’re going to get to the place with Interactive TV offers everything in one place,” he explains. “We all should be connected and that is the future of television. And you’re slowly seeing the devices and needs allow for that [transition].”
For now the vast majority of PGA.com’s viewers tuned in on Friday afternoon.
“That’s our biggest time as the fans are in their offices at work and want to watch on the computer,” says Mosteller. “It’s definitely much greater then…and there is a direct correlation to TV viewership. The more you can get into people’s minds like a marketing promotion they will be in tune for the TV broadcasts.”