The PGA TOUR, organiser of the main professional golf tours in the US and North America has been working on new ways to create, distribute and experience golf content that will bring fans closer to the action on the course. The TOUR captures hundreds of hours of raw footage at each tournament and wants to develop new options for fans to engage with the content.
As the cloud will be a major element of the changes at the company, the company needed to find a suitable vendor. The TOUR has selected AWS as its Official Cloud Provider, which covers a number of cloud services including AI, deep learning and machine learning, and also to help upgrade its media operations.
PGA TOUR Competition Experience
The TOUR will use AWS machine learning, storage, compute, analytics, database and media services to quickly process and distribute the quantities of video from each tournament and, from there, rapidly transform the content into new types of digital experiences. The goal is for fans to have a more complete, personalised experience across TOUR competition.
For instance, Every Shot Live, one of AWS’ OTT streaming platforms, will give viewers live access to every shot from every player in a tournament. During a typical tournament like THE PLAYERS Championship, this means access to more than 32,000 shots from a starting field of 144 golfers. The fans can choose to follow any player in real time and view each shot via streaming content. In fact, Every Shot Live debuted last year but could be seen for one round because of the pandemic, and only just returned for 2021.
Ball Tracing and Course Navigation
A different type of engagement is TOURCast, which extends the TOUR leaderboard so that fans can follow players’ progress around a golf course by exploring the graphically traced trails and results of each shot. The trails are based on data from PGA Tour's ShotLink real-time information gathering system. Viewers can meanwhile use the app’s camera controls to navigate around the course, change camera angles and zoom into the player's perspective. The app displays the course interactively, producing 3D renders by overlaying high-resolution aerial photography onto CG geometry.
“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,” said Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services. “AWS’ collaboration with the TOUR opens real-time access to virtually every moment on the course and lets the viewer determine how they experience the game, which is going to quickly change the way that fans connect with the sport.”
The TOUR will also use AWS media services to accelerate delivery of their video content for televised event coverage and OTT streaming for online viewers. To accomplish this, the TOUR will use AWS to simultaneously process and distribute OTT content, formatting it correctly for viewing over a variety of delivery platforms and devices, including smartphones and tablets. This range of processing will make the TOUR’s tournament footage available globally to authenticated broadcasters, content subscribers from AWS and other sources.
Automatic Tagging and Archiving
Longer term plans include building a pool of data for real-time and historic multimedia content on Amazon Simple Storage Service. The TOUR will migrate nearly 100 years of media content to AWS including video, audio and images dating back to the 1928 Los Angeles Open. Live footage from future tournaments will be streamed into the same data pool.
AWS supports First Tee online community.
The TOUR will then use Amazon Rekognition, a deep learning image and video analysis service, within its applications to automatically tag content with specific metadata like player names and sponsor logos. As well as instantly accessing specific moments from the TOUR’s history to aid commentary and add depth to event coverage, Rekognition’s automatic tagging will help the TOUR and its content partners search, review, annotate and package new content. Tagging and archiving will also give fans better access to years of golf footage and highlights when using the TOUR’s web and mobile apps.
As a final part of the partnership, AWS will become a Trustee of First Tee, an organisation the TOUR supports that helps young people gain skill and confidence through the game of golf. Among other services, AWS will help the organisation develop an online community where coaches, parents and participants can access the First Tee curriculum and resources and connect with peers in the program. www.aws.amazon.com