The R&A, organiser of the oldest Major championship in golf, is aiming to launch its own streaming platform as soon as this year as one of the most traditional sports steps up its effort to win new fans.
The R&A, which oversees the rules of golf and governs the sport outside the US and Mexico, is embarking on the plan as sports from football to basketball look to streaming to build their fan bases.
The streaming service, which R&A is launching together with talent agency IMG as part of a renewal of their partnership, could show snippets from press conferences, highlights and other content such as documentaries chronicling up-and-coming golf talent.
Neil Armit, chief commercial officer at the R&A, said the so-called direct-to-consumer streaming service could be launched in time for this year’s Open, due to take place at Royal Liverpool in England this July.
The platform will be offered free of charge with the aim of encouraging golf fans to register for the service, giving the R&A better insight into its audience.
Based in the Scottish town of St Andrews, the R&A invested £92mn in the sport between 2017 and 2021. It plans to bring its total investment to £200mn by 2026. The group generated revenues of £115mn in 2021, bouncing back to exceed 2019 levels after a tough pandemic.
The R&A is considering using the streaming platform as a springboard into markets where it does not have broadcast arrangements in place, such as the Middle East.
There are no immediate plans to charge for the streaming platform.
IMG and the R&A also plan to grow the hospitality side of the business with tailored “money can’t buy” experiences such as meet and greets with former players and behind-the-scenes access, Armit added.