Sports

Tata Communications, European Tour to coach three tech start-ups to enrich golf

Amrita Nair-Ghaswalla Mumbai | Updated on December 25, 2019 Published on December 25, 2019

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Showcasing how virtual reality can transform golf, and after setting a benchmark by delivering the world’s first 360° video in 8K ultra high definition last year at the European Tour, Tata Communications is gearing up to make golf an always-connected sport.

The European Tour, an organisation which operates three men’s professional golf tours in Europe, and Tata Communications, aided by venture capital (VC) firms, are to coach three start-ups to develop new solutions to enrich the game.

The top three short-listed ideas for the ‘European Tour Innovation Hub with Tata Communications’ contest were unveiled recently, with the ideas demonstrating the potential to transform golf by showcasing the sport in all its glory.

What’s in use

In use will be second screen viewing using augmented reality (AR), enhanced real-time engagement with TV audiences and the creation of multilingual content for global audiences.

This September, Tata Communications decided to support the European Tour for its fan contest called Innovation Hub, on similar lines of the F1’s Innovation Prize. The latter was a global digital crowdsourcing challenge for F1, where fans were given an opportunity to solve real challenges faced by the sport.

The Innovation Hub invited technology solutions from fans across the world to focus on what they expect and wish to experience from golf. The aim was to focus on connected courses and IoT.

The European Tour is to turn the winning idea into an actual solution and roll it out across major competitions.

Mehul Kapadia, Global Head of Marketing, Tata Communications, says the aim of launching the hub is two-fold: to improve the fan experience and to solve some of the operational problems experienced during large tournaments.

The Indian company has been playing a central role in popular sports such as Formula 1, MotoGP, European Tour, India Premier League and Pro Kabaddi League.

“We have been fortunate to closely witness and leverage the digital opportunity across the sports ecosystem,” Kapadia told BusinessLine, adding: “There is a clear shift in how fans watch and engage with sports. Their favourite modes are not just on TV and at venues, but also over social media platforms and even through VR apps. Digital advancements are the key to revolutionising fan experience and enabling fans to get closer to the real-time on-field action.”

Kapadia says most sports organisations, broadcasters and digital providers are recognising this and are eager to broaden their fan appeal outside their traditional audience demographic. “Millennials are the key target audience across all sports and companies are increasingly using digital tools to find new ways to connect with them,” he adds.

“A fan experience starts way before the game begins, and this is where we plan to develop innovative immersive technologies for an integrated experience.”

Clearly, a sport like golf with 275,000 people and 400 buggies on one course can be tricky to manage, but the European Tour is looking for technology to be the solution. It also wants to enable fans to interact with the game in new ways and to enhance how each European Tour event is broadcast and produced.

Tata Communications is the official Global Connectivity Supplier of the European Tour. This competition builds on previous collaboration between the two organisations to drive innovation in golf.

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Published on December 25, 2019
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