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Golf’s European Tour looks to innovation through AR, second screen and multilingual video

European Tour's CTO talks to TVBEurope about the Innovation Hub competition

Golf’s European Tour has revealed the three finalists in its global competition for start-up companies to develop creative new solutions and concepts to enhance how audiences watch the game.

The Innovation Hub, which the Tour is running in conjunction with Tata Communications, aims to find ideas that can be developed commercially, with the winning solution tested in action during the 2020 season.

From 50 submissions the final three of have now been announced:

alugha (Germany): Aims to help overcome the complexities of managing multilingual video content for European Tour’s diverse audiences worldwide. alugha would create an interlocked toolkit for the complete multilingualisation process – from transcription over multi-audio-track voiceovers to video hosting and distribution.


eyecandylab (US): With eyecandylab’s mobile augmented reality (AR) technology, fans could enjoy live games with an interactive AR layer. By pointing their smartphone or tablet towards live action shown on TV, fans would be able to access stats, player profiles and 3D green layouts in an interactive and visually enhancing way. They could also engage with life-size holograms to bring the action from the course into their living room.  

Sparx Technology (Canada): Is a consumer engagement platform for enhancing broadcast streams. It would allow for real-time audience engagement through on-screen polling, trivia, predictive gaming, sports wagering and data collection. The Sparx platform would integrate directly with the live broadcast graphics system to connect viewers to the action happening on screen, creating a two-way communication channel between the broadcaster and viewers.

According to the European Tour’s chief technology officer Michael Cole, the judging panel have “absolute confidence” that they have chosen the right final three.

“We assessed the entries through their understanding of the challenge, their level of innovation, creativity, we looked at the technical content, we also looked at the quality of the material, and the quality of the submission as well as the originality of the solution,” Cole told TVBEurope. “Finally we looked at what would make it feasible? It’s no good having a great idea if the feasibility or the propensity to integrate it into our tournament delivery wasn’t going to be a great fit. So that the range of criteria and the different viewpoints that we had from an assessment perspective, gives me the absolute assurance that the final three are the right three.”

The purpose of the Innovation Hub is to help the European Tour to “change the conversation, we’d like to reach out to new audiences and engage with people in a very different way. So that’s the backdrop and it’s part of the Innovation Hub for the 2020 challenges,” Cole explained.

“The priority right now is to enhance our media capabilities to drive viewership and engagement and also to add value to our consumer product portfolio. If we take the three shortlisted entries, one of them really falls firmly into the area of enhancing our media capabilities to drive viewership and engagement now. The other two are very interesting and follow a very similar pattern and arguably, they actually tick all three boxes.”

Cole believes all three of the finalists will improve the viewing experience for both fans at the live venue and those watching from home. “One of our key challenges is how we bridge that gap between the venue spectator and the armchair fan. I’m very, very, very, enthused by two of the shortlisted entries that will hopefully help bridge that gap between the the on course experience and the TV viewer. They are about creating an immersive environment, they’re all about future technologies utilising augmented reality and creating a personalisation of content which we know is very, very important.

“But equally they enable the spectator or the viewer to engage in golf in a very, very unique way through the profiling of content and being presented through augmented reality. That is what this is all about. It is about recognising those challenges that we have within the game of golf at the European Tour to engage with spectators and consumers in a very different way, and very much to change that conversation, and we know that technology can play a key role in fulfilling that aim and that ambition.”

The three finalists will now work with the Tour’s business development team, venture capital (VC) firms
and Tata Communications, looking at ways to turn their solutions from concept into reality. Following that, they will go through a Dragon’s Den-style pitch where the ultimate winner will be chosen. It’s expected the final winner will be announced in March.