Gyro 360 Degree Vivid Views On IBM’s Masters Mobile App

The Masters is one of the most exclusive events in the world: perhaps the only thing harder to get than a tournament ticket is an Augusta National membership.


While digital renderings can never truly replace watching the year’s first major (or playing the course itself), sponsor IBM’s Official Masters App is almost as good as being there.


As well as the usual services, such as live scores, radio commentary, video-on-demand content, pairings updates, plus news and views, the 2013 visuall rich and navigationally minimal app also provides incredible gyroscopic views of Augusta National’s holes as if you were playing them.


An incredible way to experience the warmth of the Spring sunshine, the perfectly manicured grass, the azaleas and magnolias and the playing experience.


‘It’s all about taking the Masters to the masses by leveraging digital platforms,’ says John Kent, IBM’s technology manager for the Masters tournament.


‘The goals are all about sharing the history, the tradition, the beauty, the experience here at Augusta National. So our challenge is, on digital platforms, to create an immersive experience that gives the users that sense of place, of presence.’


“It’s all very focused on telling the story of the Masters through vivid imaging, whether it’s photography or video. There are seven live video channels that are HD quality streamed across all of those platforms,” Kent says.


‘New this year in the iPad app and the website is a 360-degree panoramic view — within the course section, you can go to the tee box and rotate around, and in the iPad app, use the gyro function to move the view.’


IBM’s app, which comes in iPhone, iPad and Android formats, is free to download and designed to complement the television broadcast or to be used independently to follow Masters Tournament action.


As sponsor, IBM also features in The Masters television commercials and runs the tournament’s website and media centre technology as well as the mobile phone applications.


IBM’s branding, along with fellow tournament sponsors AT&T and ExxonMobil, also run across the competition’s official website )(which also includes score and story updates, live leader boards and player information, near-live photos and on-demand HD video.


IBM supports this activation with its own golf-led marketing initiatives focusing on data-led advances and intelligence: such as its Bobby Jones ‘Swing Analysis’ TV commercial.





Just like its groundbreaking apps for the Grand Slam tennis tournaments and its rugby partnerships that it sponsors, IBM uses its golf partnerships to provide stunning and innovative fan digital experiences, while at the same time showcasing its digital credentials and data analytical expertise to the business-to-business market.


This is the 12th straight year that IBM has sponsored the Augusta National Golf Club’s Masters Tournament and each year it has to work to focus some consumer attention away from media comment and consumer conversation around the club’s position on female membership and towards its activation and the golf.


Ed Barbini, a spokesman for IBM, said the company doesn’t comment on private club memberships.


But in 2013, while IBM CEO Ginni Rometty (and keen golfer) still waits for a public invitation to join the formerly all-male organization, the debate has eased somewhat after Augusta National finally broken its all-male stance after last year’s tournament by inviting two women, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and philanthropist Darla Moore, to become its first female members.


This change will further ease the gradual, yet still low key commercialisation of the competition.


Commercial activity at the tournament still remains fairly low profile: spectators are still called ‘patrons’, prices remain surprisingly reasonable ($250 for a four-round ticket compared to $400 at the US Open), corporate signs and sponsor logos are largely absent, and few commercials disturb the viewing of the 100m global TV audience.


Nevertheless, the business side of golf’s first major of the year continues to evolve and 2013 sees the tournament’s first official corporate- hospitality pavilion (albeit largely hidden from spectators and TV cameras).


This means that Masters sponsors, who according to IEG pay around $18m per year for their rights and affiliation, no longer have to take corporate guests off course for hospitality.


This builds on previous year’s commercials firsts – from new sponsorship and broadcast deals (this year ESPN, one of two US broadcasters with CBS, will distribute 12 hours of 3D programming) to a licensed EA Sports Masters videogame – marking a slow, but natural progression of The Masters as a commercial enterprise.



Of course other brands are also leveraging consumer interest in The Masters. Perhaps the standout campaign in the lead-up to this competition was Oakley’s smash viral ‘Bubba Hover’ initiative.


Watson, last year’s Masters champion, was relatively unknown outside golfing communities before he won in 2012. Indeed, according to research outfit Repucom, his name awareness in the USA jumped 136% after the win and his main sponsor Ping generated $14.2m in media value from his victory.


Oakley, aiming to leverage some of that value, rolled out an online video in early April featuring Bubba’s innovative hovercraft golf cart. Presented as a serious new piece of golf game equipment, the spot went viral through a blend of innovation, incredulity and humour and thus far as chalked up more than 7m YouTube views.





Official Masters iPad App



Official Masters iPhone App



Official Masters Android App



Masters Website





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