The 2019 Betfred British Masters: New Sponsorship, A New Field and New Technology
Maddie Coutts | 14.05.19
This year’s golfing calendar has had a shakedown. With American events now basking in the spotlight under new PGA Tour and TV schedules, the European Tour’s flagship events have been forced to make way, with the British Masters taking place almost five months earlier than its 2018 incarnation. Unruffled, those in charge have redoubled their efforts to maximise fan engagement around the tournament, so much so that Fifty Digital had to make the trip up North to enjoy the sell-out event!
The new schedule was a perfect opportunity for the new breed of Tour talent to make a name for themselves, with host Tommy Fleetwood and legend Lee Westwood arguably the stand out names. Amongst the new generation was rising star Matt Wallace, who was unfortunate to lose his nerve at the 18th in losing out to Swedish rival Marcus Kinhult.
This year’s tournament enjoyed a new sponsor, with Betfred taking over from Sky Sports. The event was the brand’s first foray into the sport but it was a logical step, given their target demographic of 21-50 year olds. The Warrington based betting giants are housed just over 30 miles from Hillside Golf Club and put their all into promoting the event, leading to a sell-out weekend crowd under sunny spring skies in the North West.
A new date, a new sponsor and a fresh field, but the changes didn’t stop there. In another first for the British Masters, tee times were wisely switched to accommodate a certain Premier League title race. With Anfield just down the road, the organisers recognised that almost every member of the crowd would want to tune in to watch how the football played out, and so tee times were brought forward on the last day to allow all play to finish by 2:30pm. With players going off both the front and back nine in order to get around in time, this strategy shows the European Tour’s willingness to adapt to its audience’s needs in order to maintain focus on their event.
Finally, if you were at Hillside Golf Club you perhaps won’t have noticed the final first of the British Masters. Even watching at home, you would have been oblivious. That’s because this industry-first innovation was digitally based and a huge evolution in broadcast sponsorship branding. DCM (Dynamic Content Multiplication) technology made its debut. This meant that the European Tour could create up to three additional branded feeds in real-time, without any delay, all using LED enhancement technology. So, if you were standing on the first tee, or watching in the UK, you would see Betfred’s sponsorship on the LED boards. However, using DCM technology in real time, a person watching from the American markets might see Rolex branding, and those in Asia BMW branding.
This technology opens the doors wide to multiple sponsorship revenue streams, and when you couple that with the strong social media showing at the Ryder Cup, as well as innovative playing formats such as the Shot Clock Masters, it shows that golf isn’t the ‘old man’s sport’ it was once thought to be.