FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 12th, 2016
NBC SPORTS GROUP ACTIVATES PARTNERSHIP WITH WHISTLE SPORTS THROUGH UNCONVENTIONAL GOLF SIMULATOR MIRRORING CONDITIONS AT THE 145TH OPEN
Social Media-Driven Video Content Features Golfers Hitting Shots with Challenges Similar to Those Faced at The Open
ORLANDO, Fla. (July 12, 2016) – In conjunction with its inaugural year as the exclusive U.S. television rights holder of The Open (July 14-17), NBC Sports Group worked in collaboration with Whistle Sports, a digital sports media company with a network of more than 400 sports social influencers creating content across social, digital and TV platforms. Together they produced a creative promotional campaign that showcases the severe playing conditions synonymous with golf’s original major championship in an amusing, unconventional way.
The content activation, which was filmed in New York City, showcases a customized indoor golf simulator featuring Royal Troon – the host course venue for the 2016 Open – with surprise elements coming into play on every swing. With the help of European golf instructors Peter Finch and Rick Shiels, unsuspecting golfers are invited to test their merits as they encounter iconic conditions that mirror those at The Open.
Real fescue-like long grass is used to simulate the challenges players will face at The Open when they miss the fairway, and a miniature bunker with real sand (and rake) represents the tricky bunkering associated with links golf. Finch and Shiels make things even more difficult for those in the simulator by blowing leaf blowers and squirting water in the faces to simulate The Open’s iconic windy and rainy conditions in a fun, unorthodox way.
The result is a comical four-minute video being disseminated via multiple social platforms, including Whistle Sports’ Facebook, Instagram and YouTube channel, along with Golf Channel’s social media platforms. In addition to the full clip, several “shorts” are being shared via Facebook and Instagram outlining specific elements, including how to tackle shots from the fescue, when battle the rain, and conquer the wind. Other “shorts” include advice from Finch and Shiels on how to be most successful when playing Royal Troon along with a behind-the-scenes clip from the shoot.
Reaction to the campaign has gained the attention of many in the few days since initially launching the video on Friday. To-date, the video has already eclipsed more than 1 million views and reached more than 2 million users. The 3,500-plus social interactions in response to Golf Channel’s social channels having shared the video are more than three times Golf Channel’s average.
The 145THOpen will be hosted at Royal Troon from July 14-17, and will mark NBC Sports Group’s first opportunity to showcase golf’s original championship, which dates back to 1860. As part of a new 13-year partnership with The R&A, NBC Sports and Golf Channel will provide all-encompassing live coverage from the first tee shot through the final putt, culminating with the Champion Golfer of the Year raising the Claret Jug.
Nearly 50 hours of live tournament coverage – the most ever planned for a major championship – will be surrounded by nearly 60 hours of Golf Channel’s comprehensive news coverage, highlighted by Golf Central Live From The Open. NBC Sports Group’s coverage also marks the return of The Open to U.S. broadcast television for the first time since 2009, and Golf Channel’s first-ever live tournament coverage of a men’s major championship.
ABOUT GOLF CHANNEL
Golf Channel is a multimedia, golf entertainment and services company based in Orlando, Fla. Serving the most-affluent audience in all of television, Golf Channel – co-founded by Arnold Palmer in 1995 and now part of NBC Sports Group – is available in more than 200 million homes in 84 countries and 11 languages around the world. Golf Channel features more live golf coverage than all other networks combined, including tournament action from the PGA TOUR, LPGA Tour, The Open, Olympics, and Ryder Cup, as well as high-quality news, instruction and original programming. Golf Channel’s digital platforms, headed by GolfChannel.com, deliver unmatched coverage of the world of golf. Fans are able to enjoy 24/7 live streaming of Golf Channel content through Golf Live Extra and NBC Sports Live Extra, both powered by Playmaker Media, and select programming is simulcast via SiriusXM’s PGA TOUR Radio. In addition, Golf Channel connects the world to golf through a wide array of digital and lifestyle services including Golf Channel Mobile, a comprehensive app covering golf’s latest headlines, scores and analysis; GolfNow, the world’s largest online tee time booking platform and golf course technology partner, which includes the GolfNow Mobile App, featuring on-course GPS tracking, in-round scoring and game tracking; GolfAdvisor.com, the world’s largest golf course ratings and review resource for golfers, by golfers; a North American network of Golf Channel Academy instructional facilities; and Golf Channel Am Tour, the world’s largest amateur golf tour.
ABOUT WHISTLE SPORTS
Whistle Sports creates, curates and delivers compelling sports content for fans and brands across multiple social, digital and TV platforms. Since its formal launch in 2014, Whistle Sports has built an active, global community with 400 of the world’s most engaging sports content creators that now encompasses over 200 million aggregate subscribers, fans and followers with a growth rate of over 2 million a week.