IBM Teams Up With USGA On Interactive U.S. Open Web Site

The updated Web site offers golf fans streaming video, real-time scoring, and social networking features.

K.C. Jones, Contributor

June 11, 2008

2 Min Read

IBM has teamed up with the United States Golf Association to give professional golf fans a more interactive experience during the U.S. Open and for years to come.

Big Blue is the official technology partner of the USGA and one of only three corporate partners in the USGA's 113-year history. American Express has also collaborated with the association.

IBM is operating the technology for the U.S. Open Championship this week. It is also handling scoring services for the event, as well as the U.S. Women's Open later this month and the U.S. Senior Open, which begins July 31.

IBM and the USGA have jointly designed the new U.S. Open Web site, which offers more interactive and personalized features this year than ever before.

For the first time ever, fans at the course will be able to post messages online through a new feedback application. Fans on and off the course can choose and track players through the Web site. They can also watch on-demand videos of player highlights, course previews, and more. The Web site will provide exclusive real-time scoring. A video console will stream footage of the championship game, as well as marquee groupings and player interviews.

Web site visitors can read about the USGA's rules of golf, as well as featured courses and the history of the sport.

IBM and the USGA held a teleconference Wednesday to explain how social networking and immersion can expand and engage the sport's fan base. They said the partnership is more about strategy than ground-breaking technology, adding that it's a major step for organizations to not only allow, but encourage, outsiders to talk about them.

Pete Bevacqua, chief business officer for the USGA, said that it's a major undertaking to draw together 1 million fans and keep them in contact with each other, and that IBM can help with that. Many golf fans are amateur players themselves.

Rick Singer, director of worldwide sponsorship marketing for IBM, said, "A big challenge in golf and any industry is to find youth, get them to become avid fans, and get them to participate."

The Internet and Internet protocol television help because viewers can watch anytime, anywhere.

In addition to its partnership with the USGA, IBM also provides technology and support to other major sports and entertainment events, including the Australian Open, Roland Garros French Open, Wimbledon, and U.S. Open Tennis championships; the Masters golf tournament; the NFL; and the Tony Awards.

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