PGA Tour tees up ‘transformational partnership’ with Amazon Web Services

Wide-ranging deal spans media services, content distribution and fan-focused innovations.

by Michael Long

PGA Tour tees up ‘transformational partnership’ with Amazon Web Services
  • Cloud computing giant to help tour store, analyse and distribute footage from every tournament
  • AWS to power new live viewing experiences for fans, such as Every Shot Live and TOURCast
  • Two parties to create ‘data lake’ for historic content dating back to 1928

The PGA Tour has become the latest major sports property to partner with Amazon Web Services (AWS) as part of a wide-ranging deal that will see the cloud computing giant bring its artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities to the world’s leading professional golf circuit.

A statement from the US-based tour said the partnership will ‘transform the way golf content is created, distributed and experienced’, while AWS will also help the tour ‘streamline its media operations’.

Under the deal, AWS will be formally designated as the official cloud provider of the tour, as well as receiving category exclusivity in the provision of AI, ML and deep learning services.

With each PGA Tour event producing hundreds of hours of raw footage, the company will assist the tour in storing, analysing and distributing the content, in addition to creating new digital offerings for fans that will focus on more interactive experiences and greater personalisation.

One service that will benefit from the partnership is Every Shot Live, an over-the-top (OTT) streaming platform, powered by AWS, that will give viewers live access to every shot in a tournament and enable them to follow any player in real time.

AWS will also provide the technological backbone for TOURCast, which the PGA Tour describes as ‘an evolution’ of the traditional leaderboard. That service will give fans ‘video game-like control of the golf viewing experience’, allowing them to ‘access alternative camera angles, navigate around the course, view speed rounds, and display player and shot stats on demand’.

“This transformational partnership with AWS will give our fans the opportunity to experience the PGA Tour like never before,” said tour commissioner Jay Monahan. 

“Growing and diversifying our fanbase is a top priority for us, and thanks to the collaboration and innovation from AWS, we are creating more ways to experience the game of golf, while personalising our content to enable fans to engage with the tournaments and players they support.”

Aside from the more public-facing innovations included in the deal, the Seattle-based company’s Media Services division will work behind the scenes to transform the tour’s video production and delivery workflow by enabling the simultaneous distribution of content for TV coverage and online streaming.

Content will be distributed via AWS to a variety of platforms and devices, with the tour able to make tournament footage available globally to authenticated broadcasters and OTT subscribers.

Additionally, AWS’s Simple Storage Service - also known as Amazon S3 - will be used by the tour to create a ‘data lake for real-time and historic multimedia content’ dating back to the Los Angeles Open in 1928.

As well as video, audio and images from past events, live footage from future tournaments will be streamed directly into the archive. Amazon Rekognition, AWS’s deep learning service, will then be used to analyse the content and automatically tag it with metadata, such as player names and sponsor logos, to aid searching and packaging for distribution to partners.

According to the tour, fans will also benefit from 'enhanced access' to this tagged archive through the tour’s owned and operated web and mobile apps.

The new agreement with the PGA Tour continues AWS’ push into sport, where the company already has partnerships in place with the likes of the National Football League (NFL), National Hockey League (NHL), Formula One, Nascar and the Bundesliga.

“The partnership and experience we create with the tour will be unique,” said AWS chief executive Andy Jassy. “Unlike other sports, there’s more than one ball in play on a golf course, which makes it harder for fans to follow how every player is performing.

“Our collaboration with the tour will change the way that fans will be able to connect with the sport by giving them real-time access to virtually every moment on the course and letting them determine how they experience the game.”