Golf is one of the most challenging sports to cover on television, as it involves 18 separate fields of play spread over a large course. The DP World Tour, which organizes some of the leading men’s professional golf tours the world over, is constantly looking for new ways to enhance its production and deliver engaging content to its fans.
Michael Cole, CTO DP World Tour, in an exclusive interview with Shaurya Sharma of News18 Tech, revealed some of the innovations in technology that his team is working on—to bring golf to life on-screen and for the on-course spectator.
One of them is creating individual camera feeds for each hole and giving viewers the choice to watch their favorite hole or player live. “I genuinely believe that we’ve got one of the biggest challenges in the sporting industry because the way golf is—we’re not a single stadium—like the sport of Cricket. We actually have 18 holes and those 18 holes represent 18 separate fields of play.”
“So it’s like having to cover 18 different stadiums —we have to stitch together all of those feeds into a single broadcast production and that creates limitations because some of those moments are life and some of them are edited because that’s the way the world production or the world feed works,” Cole added.
Cole says that the DP World Tour, in partnership with Tata Communications, is looking at facilitating individual camera feeds for spectators—giving viewers the choice to watch their favorite hole.
“We want to be able to give them the tools to do that. Now, we’re not quite there with technology, but we are undertaking some tests. And I don’t think we’re that far away from being able to offer the viewer that level of customization—giving them the choice of the camera,” Cole claims.
Another concept that Cole’s team is exploring is what they call ‘the virtual twin,’ which is a digital recreation of the play on a second screen that complements the physical viewing on site. “This is how we allow the on-course spectator to both have the physical viewing of a hole but then be supplemented in the digital world,” he explained.
Cole said that this would allow spectators to access more information about each shot such as distance, speed, spin and trajectory. It would also enable them to compare different players’ performances or replay their favorite moments.
Cole said that these innovations are part of his vision to make golf more accessible and granular for fans around the world. He said that he draws inspiration from other sports such as cricket or football but also tries to preserve golf’s unique identity and heritage.
“We have got one of the biggest challenges in the sporting industry because we’re not a single stadium,” Cole said.
The PGA European Tour, which is titled DP World Tour at the moment, for sponsorship reasons has partnered with Tata Communications as its ‘Official Global Connectivity Supplier.’ The partnership, which is in its 6th season, has been in existence for 5 years now.
The collaboration also helps facilitate high-quality live video feeds from various tournaments across continents, including events like the recently concluded Hero Indian Open, held at DLF Golf & Country Club in Gurugram.
Tata Communications’ cloud-based and network infrastructure powers the Broadcast Center (TV compound), which is the ‘epicentre’ of DP World Tour’s global broadcasting.
Tata Communications also helps the Tour reduce its carbon footprint by enabling remote production of some events, such as the Singapore Classic in 2023, which saved over 140 tonnes of emissions. And, relying on Tata Communications, the DP World Tour plans to move more events to remote production this year, and to embark on a program to have the majority of their events remotely produced within a few years time.
Right from providing low latency and high capacity for near real-time and immersive digital content to bringing connectivity to every area of the golf course for technological enhancements; and supporting the vision of ‘the intelligent course’ with IoT and remote monitoring solutions that improve efficiency and insights for players and fans—Tata Communications has played an instrumental role in DP World Tour’s success lately.
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