Rick Horrow joins CNN's Don Lemon on Sunday at 7:00 p.m. ET to talk Masters.
From Sports Business Analyst Rick Horrow:
Have we been wrong all these years in thinking that Augusta National is stodgy, rooted in tradition and refusing to acknowledge such fixtures of modern living as annual cost of living increases, equal rights for women and minorities, and electronic scoreboards at sporting events?
Is the 77-year-old club really a well-cloaked beacon of innovation?
If you’re not one of the tens of thousands lucky enough or loaded enough to step foot on the grounds of Augusta National and you’re a Comcast subscriber, 3-D TV might be a viewing option for you. Among the nauseating amount of tournament and Tiger Woods coverage this week, sports media execs may have found a use for the cutting-edge broadcast technology that goes beyond the gimmick, providing an experience that’s truly the next best thing to being there.
Last week, Comcast held a demo screening in New York for its planned distribution this week of The Masters in 3-D specifically for home consumption. Industry analysts present at the screening claim that the technology translates well to golf, due to the wide open, outdoor setting of the sport, and the noticeable variations in course topography. Six of the course’s back nine holes have been shot in 3-D, including Amen Corner.
None of this would have happened, of course, without the blessing of the green jackets at Augusta National.
The Masters is also all about sponsorship tastefully done. AT&T, one of only a handful of official Masters sponsors, is using the tournament to rebrand itself as a lifestyle innovator that’s “changing how people live, work and play” through the “Rethink Possible” campaign it launched during The Masters this week.
K.J. Choi is paired with Tiger during the final round of The Masters, meaning they will have played together every day of the tournament. Because of the added coverage Choi is receiving from playing with Tiger, his sponsors (Ping, Titleist, SK Telecom, SGF Superior and Shinhan Bank) will get the equivalent of nearly $15 million of TV advertising time. Likewise, leader-after-Saturday Lee Westwood’s primary sponsors, UPS, Footjoy, Dunlop, Jaguar and Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet stand to reap about the same. Phil Mickelson’s main sponsors in the spotlight on Sunday include Barclay’s, Callaway and ExxonMobil – who can miss the near ubiquitous ads for his and wife Amy’s ExxonMobil Teachers Academy, promoting advanced teaching techniques in science and math?
Augusta National – the great enabler of 21st-century progress?
Rick Horrow is a Sports Business Analyst and frequent contributor to CNN. He is also co-author of Beyond the Box Score: An Insider’s Guide to the $750 Billion Business of Sports (Morgan James, March 2010)