Golf News for Tuesday, November 13, 2012 | Marketing

LPGA hosts ‘Social Event of the Season’ with Golf Channel telecast of CME Group Titleholders

A wide-ranging social media campaign is being launched by the LPGA Tour and Golf Channel in an effort to create the ultimate fan experience for the Tour’s season-ending event, the CME Group Titleholders. A fan vote for the featured grouping in Thursday’s first-round telecast on Golf Channel highlights the “Social Event of the Season,” which also includes the use of the both organizations’ diverse social media platform both on-site at TwinEagles Golf Club, throughout Golf Channel telecasts, and online.

For the first time in LPGA history, fans will create a grouping at an official Tour event. The top-three players with the most votes in the “Featured Grouping Contest” will play together for Thursday’s first round and will be spotlighted throughout Golf Channel’s broadcast. Voting continues until Nov. 12 at LPGA.com and GolfChannel.com.

“The season-ending CME Group Titleholders offers the perfect occasion for a year-end social media blitz,” said LPGA Chief Marketing Officer Jon Podany. “LPGA players continue to be among the most approachable athletes in sports, and that is particularly evident with their growing popularity in social media.”

With the integration of five different social media outlets, fans watching the CME Group Titleholders broadcast at home on Golf Channel and those on site at TwinEagles Golf Club in Naples will have plenty of opportunities to get involved. Among the promotions taking place during the week will be:

• A Twitter takeover of @LPGA by European Solheim Cup star Sandra Gal. Golf Channel’s broadcast team will react to select tweets by Gal.

• Fan interaction during Golf Channel’s broadcast utilizing the #LPGAonGC hashtag, with select questions or comments read on air.

• Tweeting from players during tournament coverage.

• “Social media caddies” who will activate several interactive onsite programs.

• Opportunities for fans to score discounts on admission and merchandise.

"The social aspect of the CME Group Titleholders event will create a true, interactive Golf Channel viewing experience," said Golf Channel Senior Vice President of Marketing Regina O’Brien. "With our broadcast team reacting to comments by fans and players from the various social media sites, our telecast will serve as a great platform to keep the conversation alive."

The Tour will utilize Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Foursquare to maximize opportunities for fans using the different platforms.

Capping off this year with the “Social Event of the Season,” the LPGA continues its successful “See Why It’s Different Out Here” marketing campaign and an innovative approach to social media. Earlier this season, the Tour debuted a first-of-its-kind program, which began displaying players’ Twitter handles on their caddies’ bibs for fan visibility. Thanks to efforts like the caddie bib program, over the past year the Tour, its tournaments and its players have collectively seen an 81 percent increase in Twitter followers and Facebook fans.

“We are excited to bring this social media concept to one of our showcase events,” said LPGA Chief Communications Officer Kraig Kann. “As we work to grow our ‘following,’ we need ideas like this that are worth following. Hopefully, this visible new forum for fan interaction provides another opportunity for people to ‘See Why It’s Different’ at the LPGA these days.”

Golf Channel will air live coverage of all four rounds of the CME Group Titleholders Thursday-Sunday (Nov. 15-18) from 1:30-4 p.m. ET. Rich Lerner will handle play-by-play responsibilities, joined by Hall-of-Famer and lead analyst Judy Rankin in the main broadcast booth. Tom Abbott will call the action from a tower position, with Jerry Foltz and Jane Crafter reporting from the ground.

Below are the campaigns taking place at the “Social Event of the Season” in detail, broken down by social media outlet:

Twitter
Fans Vote for Featured Pairing: For the first time in Tour history, the fans will have a say in the pairings for an LPGA event. Fans with Twitter accounts will have a chance to vote in their favorite player for the “Featured Grouping” of the week. The top-three players who receive the most votes will be grouped together for Thursday’s first-round and will be highlighted throughout the broadcast on Golf Channel.

LPGA, Golf Channel, individual LPGA events and the players themselves will encourage fans to vote via their Tweets from Nov. 5 through Nov. 12 on http://www.lpga.com/golf/features/cme-featured-pairings.aspx or www.GolfChannel.com/lpgaongc.

Hashtag Integration: Fans will be encouraged to use the #LPGAonGC hashtag throughout the week of the event to create an aggregated discussion on the season-ending tournament. Golf Channel will promote the hashtag in an on-screen watermark during the broadcast and will remind viewers through a painted logo near the tee box on a select hole at TwinEagles Golf Club.

Golf Channel talent will be using the hashtag’s feed to answer questions and highlight player and fan dialogue during the broadcast. Since the #LPGAonGC hashtag was released on Monday through Wednesday, there have been more than 2.7 million impressions on Twitter, and more than 5,000 tweets using the hashtag.

Player Takeover: Rolex Rankings No. 29 Sandra Gal will have an hour-long ‘takeover’ of the official LPGA Twitter account (@LPGA) during tournament week. Gal will answer fan questions and provide in-round commentary and insight from Golf Channel’s broadcast booth. The exact time of the ‘takeover’ will be announced on the LPGA’s Twitter account early next week.

Tweetcount: Fans will be rewarded for helping to spread Tour news and announcements. @LPGA and @CMEGroupLPGA will tweet messages throughout the week asking fans to retweet in return for a 20% discount or “Tweetcount” at the CME Group Titleholders Merchandise Tent.

Facebook
“Instant Fan” Photos: Social media caddies will manage a life-size polaroid cutout that fans will be able to take ‘Instant Fan Photos’ around the course at TwinEagles Golf Club. Photos will be uploaded to the Tour’s Facebook and Pinterest pages.

“Like” the LPGA: Social media caddies will be on-site with a life-size Facebook “status update” that will allow fans to write in a personal message and what they like about the LPGA. Photos will be taken and posted on LPGA Facebook page.

Check-In Deals: Fans can utilize the “check-in” feature on Facebook for free admission during a designated time into the tournament and a 20% discount off merchandise. Details will be promoted on all social media channels.

Instagram
Playing off the “See Why It’s Different Out Here” marketing campaign, the Tour will give fans a chance to show why the LPGA is unique. Fans are instructed to post pictures to their Instagram accounts and use the hashtag #LPGASeeWhy.

The best photo will be picked on Monday following the event with a prize being awarded to the winner. The contest will be promoted on scoreboards, spectator guides and the Tour’s and the event’s social media channels.

Be There & Foursquare
Fans will be able to use the location-based social networking site to “check-in” at several designated locations on the grounds of TwinEagles Golf Club. The fan with the most check-ins for the week will be awarded a prize after the tournament. Check-in deals at the merchandise tent will also be offered and will be promoted on scoreboards, in the tournament spectator guide and the Tour’s and the event’s social media channels.

Pinterest: Player Pin Board Contest
Fans with Pinterest accounts will be encouraged to create boards with pictures of their favorite LPGA players who are in the CME Group Titleholders. Pinners are to use the hashtag #CMEGroupLPGA on each pin and to post a link to their board on the LPGA Facebook page to be entered into the contest. The winning “board” will receive a prize following the tournament.

About the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association)
The LPGA is the world’s leading professional golf organization for women. Founded in 1950, the association celebrates a diverse and storied membership with more than 1,700 members representing 29 different countries. With a Vision to inspire, empower, educate and entertain by showcasing the very best of women’s golf, LPGA Tour Professionals compete across the globe, while dedicated LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals (T&CP) directly impact the game through teaching, coaching and management. The Symetra Tour consistently produces a pipeline of talent ready for the world stage. The LPGA is headquartered in Daytona Beach, Florida. Follow the LPGA on its television home, Golf Channel, and on the web via: www.LPGA.com, www.facebook.com/lpga.official, www.twitter.com/lpga, and www.youtube.com/lpgavideo.

About Golf Channel
Golf Channel is a multimedia, golf entertainment and services company based in Orlando, Fla. The Golf Channel cable network, co-founded by Arnold Palmer in 1995 and part of the NBC Sports Group, is available in more than 120 million homes worldwide through cable, satellite and wireless companies. Exclusive partnerships with the world’s top tours allow Golf Channel to feature more live golf coverage than all other networks combined, added to a programming schedule distinguished by golf’s best news, instruction and original programming. Golf Channel’s digital platform of businesses is led by www.GolfChannel.com, a leading golf destination on the Internet, delivering unmatched coverage of the world of golf, as well as services that help the recreational player with how to play, what to play and where to play golf.

Media contact:
Kraig Kann, LPGA Chief Communications Officer, kraig.kann@lpga.com; +1 386-274-6260
Meghan Flanagan, LPGA Coordinator- Tour Media, meghan.flanagan@lpga.com, +1 386-274-6219
Dan Higgins, Golf Channel Senior Director, Public Relations, dhiggins@golfchannel.com, +1 407-355-4018