The PGA Championship TV broadcasts start Thursday out of Whistling Straights, in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Among the new elements on display is aerial drone footage. The PGA Championship’s mobile app will also track players through beacons attached to their scoreboards.
Golf’s embrace of high tech comes at a time of increased TV ratings (in 2014, the PGA Championship scored 12 million viewers, the most in five years), but decreased interest from 20 and 30-somethings. The Sports & Fitness Industry Association reports that almost twice as many people do yoga, as play golf.
“With the decline in popularity of golf both in spectatorship and participation … [the] PGA needs to do something to spice it up,” says Jason Simmons, who teaches sports marketing at the University of Cincinnati.
“Every sport sees that technology can make their product a lot better on television,” adds Victor Matheson, who teaches sports economics at the College of the Holy Cross.