PGA TOUR, LPGA and Topgolf Announce Strategic Alliance
Story published at 12:25, Thursday, May 12th, 2016
The PGA TOUR, LPGA and Topgolf Entertainment Group (TEG), a global leader in golf entertainment, have announced a strategic alliance designed to create new fans, participants and enthusiasts and to enhance the playing and fan experiences through event and media initiatives.
PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem, LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan and TEG Co-Chairman/CEO Erik Anderson outlined four primary areas of focus during a press conference at TPC Sawgrass, site of this week’s PLAYERS Championship.
Those are: linking PGA TOUR and LPGA tournament activities to local Topgolf venues; reciprocal distribution of content from both Tours through Topgolf platforms; Grow the Game initiatives supported by Topgolf® venues; and exploring opportunities for PGA TOUR and LPGA-related experiences on the World Golf Tour (WGT) digital game.
“Topgolf has developed a highly successful blueprint for engaging avid and novice golfers alike through its golf and entertainment venues,” Finchem said. “We see tremendous collaborative opportunities that will benefit not only Topgolf, the PGA TOUR and LPGA, but golf as a whole. We are very excited to work with Erik’s team to bring these ideas to life through this new alliance.”
“We’ve seen nice momentum of late between golf’s major organizations in growing the game and this alliance is something the whole golf industry should be excited about,” Whan said. “Topgolf venues are bringing new people to the game and many of those people are then also taking up the game in the traditional sense on golf courses. Everyone is taking notice of Topgolf’s innovation and creativity and we look forward to working together to continue introducing our game to new audiences.”
Topgolf is the only entertainment center of its kind, offering competitive golfing games for all ages and skill levels and advanced technology to track players’ shots. Those who just want to relax can enjoy the upscale, laid-back ambiance that boasts more than 230 high-definition flat-screen TVs and an extensive food and beverage menu. Topgolf currently has 21 venues open in the U.S. with another six locations slated to open in 2016. The vast majority of Topgolf venues are located in cities that have PGA TOUR, LPGA, PGA TOUR Champions, Web.com Tour or Symetra Tour tournaments.
Finchem, Whan and Anderson provided an overview of the potential areas of collaboration:
- Topgolf as a catalyst to PGA TOUR, LPGA, PGA TOUR Champions, Web.com Tour and Symetra Tour events: In the markets that have or will soon have a Topgolf, there is the opportunity to tie tournament activities to those venues, such as pairings parties, sponsor functions and media events.
- Distribution of PGA TOUR, LPGA and Topgolf content: The PGA TOUR, LPGA and Topgolf each has various media and social platforms that will distribute a variety of PGA TOUR, LPGA and Topgolf content, including tournament telecasts, radio broadcasts, PGA TOUR LIVE, highlights packages, archive content and SkratchTV, to help grow interest in the sport.
- Grow the Game Initiatives: This involves supporting and promoting the Topgolf Tour and the series of one-day events leading up to the Topgolf Tour Championship, as well as developing activities to serve as fun points of engagement at Topgolf venues for new players, fans and enthusiasts to transition them into traditional golf experiences. Areas to explore will be: junior golf initiatives overseen by the supporting organizations of the World Golf Foundation, including programs like The First Tee, LPGA/USGA Girls Golf, PGA Junior Leagues and Drive, Chip & Putt; integration of the PGA TOUR and LPGA brands into Topgolf national competitions and promoting through PGA TOUR and LPGA platforms; and golf instruction.
- WGT Integration: Earlier this year, Topgolf acquired sports gaming company WGT, the leading web and mobile golf game with more than 14 million players worldwide. Recognizing WGT’s leading position in the virtual game space with long-standing partners such as the USGA and their jointly marketed Virtual U.S. Open, the PGA TOUR and LPGA will explore mutually beneficial opportunities with the WGT game.
“Our research indicates there are millions of Topgolf guests who are currently non-golfers but who aspire to learn the traditional green-grass game,” Anderson said. “The Topgolf team is thrilled to join forces with the PGA TOUR and the LPGA to expose these fans to other ways to enjoy the sport. We are dedicated to growing golf’s fan base and advancing the golf industry through this strategic alliance.”