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DirecTV, PGA Tour Aim to Enhance Viewer Experience

PGA Tour Experience Adds 'Launch Pad,' 'ShotLink Channel' Features 5/28/2013 7:37 AM Eastern

The PGA Tour and DirecTV will provide enhanced coverage of a quartet of events, starting with this weekend’s Memorial Tournament.

As part of this new programming and marketing partnership, the nation’s  No. 2 provider will supplement its extant bonus coverage of the sport’s four major championships with the PGA Tour Experience – in high-definition and free to its subscribers – offering viewers expanded, live weekend coverage of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance (June 1-2); the Travelers Championship (June 22-23); the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational (Aug. 3-4); and The Barclays (Aug. 24-25).

Enhanced coverage of the Tour events will include exclusive features for DirecTV viewers through a four-in-one screen Mix Channel displaying:  the CBS Sports network feed;  “Launch Pad,” a channel dedicated to analyzing long drives;  “ShotLink Channel,” a data-intensive view of tournament competition;  and a “Featured Group” channel that lets viewers follow select groups of players around the course.   

Viewers will also be able to experience this expanded tournament content on the PGA Tour iPad app for the first time. DirecTV’s current slate of expanded, Mix Channel coverage of this year’s remaining majors encompasses the U.S. Open (June 13-16), The Open Championship (July 18-21) and the PGA Championship (Aug. 8-11).

Each of the bonus channels will be fully produced and have its own announcers. The Mix Channel will also display a continuous leader board alongside the channel’s four video cells, providing tee times, live scoring and the group's location on the course.  Each channel in the mix can be tuned to full screen.  More info is available at www.DIRECTV.com/golf.

The Launch Pad channel will provide a unique, analytical view of tee shots that require not just distance but strategy. The action will be captured by dedicated cameras positioned on the tee box and landing area of the selected holes at each tournament. The swings will be broken down and analyzed using super slow motion replays, Pro-Tracer shot tracking, split-screen comparisons and graphic enhancements. Distances and results will be measured against statistical data.

The Launch Pad holes are: the 529-yard No. 15 at the Memorial Tournament (Muirfield Village GC): a par 5 that is reachable in two, but only with a tee shot that is both long and straight; Travelers Championship, 296-yard No. 15 (TPC River Highlands): a drivable par 4, it’s the most exciting hole on the course; World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, 667-yard No.  16 (Firestone CC): this par 5 is the signature hole at Firestone’s South Course and produces some of the longest drives on tour all year; The Barclays, 324-yard No. 16 (Liberty National): another drivable par 4, it should play a big role in determining the champion. 

For its part, ShotLink Channel is designed for the fan who wants to go well beyond the traditional broadcast experience for a data-rich analysis of the game that will include both video and data simultaneously.

An interactive menu, available by pressing the red button on the remote, will include selectable items such as: Top Five Leaders; Leaderboard, which displays an in-depth scorecard for each player with hole-by-hold stats for the current or any previous round; and the players’ current year stats.

“DirecTV's PGA Tour Experience will drive the engagement of viewers who love to watch the sport and those weekend golfers who are on an eternal quest to improve their game. It’s like having a professional caddie in your living room,” said Chris Long, senior vice president, entertainment and production at DirecTV in a statement. “With our new PGA Tour partnership, we’re looking forward to exciting golf fans with expanded coverage of the PGA Tour in 2013, further establishing our position as the leader in sports among all pay TV providers.”    

“We are constantly exploring new and innovative ways to engage our fans on all media platforms,” noted Rick Anderson, PGA Tour executive vice president of television and digital media. “Through our new partnership with DirecTV, we will give fans a chance to experience the PGA Tour as never before on a destination sports platform.”

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