The final event of the inaugural season of the Disc Golf World Tour is in the books and covers. Despite getting cut short by the forces of nature, the 2016 United States Disc Golf Championship brought us an exciting showcase of skill, determination and athletic spirit.
Much of the discussion preceding the USDGC was focused on the event’s media plan. We witnessed a great deal of comments on social media, especially focused on the fact that there was not to be a live broadcast from the event. These comments, ranging from positive to negative to as far as crude and ugly, showed us a side of the disc golf community we had not seen before to this extent. Whether the backlash speaks more about the current state of social media or the current state of the disc golf community, it’s honestly hard to say. What seems to be a fair assessment of the situation is that what comes to DGWT events, the expectations considering the media production are high.
The Expectations are Higher than Ever
Our media team at the USDGC shares decades worth of experience in disc golf events. What was the norm 10, 5 or just 2 years ago, is far from what the expectations are today. Very roughly speaking, 10 years ago the media efforts (if any) were aimed towards the players themselves. Within the last 5 years, much thanks to the growing popularity of the social media, the focus of the media production has turned towards the general disc golf scene. This has much to do also with the emergence of live broadcasting online.
We firmly believe that live broadcasting, while exciting to people within the core of the sport, can not achieve the interest of the masses before it can be done at a level similar to major TV sports. The mission of the World Tour is to attract new audiences towards the sport, and in terms of media, to attract those new audiences, we simply need better packaging than what the live broadcasts can offer. Naturally video is the winning format today to reach the online audience in 2016 and for that reason video production is at the core of our media strategy.
In our perspective, there’s 2 types of video formats that have best the potential to reach the masses outside our sport. One of these is the as-it-happens -type, yet easily consumable mobile video coverage, you may have seen us post heavily on Instagram and feed to Facebook. Besides coming in handy on our scoring page, where you can click those tiny red dots to watch a players performance on a certain hole, some of those little video updates, oftentimes pieced together practically in real time, tend to go viral. Looking at at the numbers of people reached by just our 5 most popular Instagram videos, one can notice the views they get are substantial.
Top 5 Instagram videos
From a total of 116 quick update Instagram videos posted by our social media team throughout the week, below you can find the 5 with the most views.
1. Jeremy Koling’s distance showcase shot over the Winthrop lake – 474 000+ views
2. Jeremy Koling’s hole 18 celebration – 120 000+ views
While the tournament may have been cut short due to #hurricanematthew, it was not short on festivities. With no actual winning putt, Jeremy Koling’s friends decided to stage one for the freshly crowned champion. Stay tuned for more photos, videos and stories to come! #DGWT #USDGC2016 #USDGC #discgolf
3. Eagle McMahon’s huge drive on hole 18 – 95 700+ views
4. Ricky Wysocki’s Ace on hole 17 – 76 600+ views
5. Catrina Allen’s #playbyplay on hole 3 – 62 100+ views
Besides the quick update Instagram footage, our media team had their cameras on the action to bring great play-by-play action from every round of the tournament. Besides the play-by-play videos, that have already gathered more than 230 000 views on YouTube, we we’re able to get Ricky Wysocki’s amazing ace on hole 17 on tape. The edited version, utilizing 3 different camera angles, came out less than an hour from the actual ace, just in time to land on the coveted ESPN Sports Center Top10 the same night.
Besides these shorter, more polished videos, like Ricky’s ace and the Top 5 favourite shots videos, the daily Wrap Up shows from each round of the event gathered more interest than ever before. These sports magazine -style shows are meant to give the online follower as complete of an overlook of the action of each round as feasibly can be squeezed in a 10-minute package.
Traditional Media On-Site
Besides disc golf media outlets following the tournament closely and our own media team on-site creating stories of the event, this year we also enjoyed extensive coverage by respected local media outlets, the Charlotte Observer and local TV network CN2. CN2 covered the event with a total of 4 videos: Interviews with Jonathan Poole and Jussi Meresmaa, international player spotlight story and a spotlight of Ricky Wysocki and Paul McBeth. The Charlotte Observer covered the event on all 3 days. Find the articles here: 1, 2, 3.
With the audiences achieved with the USDGC media production, for us it seems fair to say that the media strategy at the USDGC was a successful one, and a model we will most likely bring with us to the 2017 events of the Disc Golf World Tour.
For the die hard disc golf fans out there who were disappointed for the lack of a live broadcast this year – we hear you. Unfortunately though the fact of the matter is that we feel disc golf broadcasting is not at a high enough level to compensate for the money and the amount of work it requires. Additionally the audiences we’ve seen, even from the very best broadcasts, are simply miniscule compared to what they should be for considering doing live broadcasts from all DGWT events.
We hope you enjoyed our extensive coverage from the 2016 edition of USDGC. Make sure to see below for some of the best moments of the tournament week, captured by our staff photographer Eino Ansio, in the video below: