12 Key Questions for 2017

Mike Wilson starts his new column Bunker Mentality by looking into its crystal ball and asks a dozen intriguing questions facing the game of golf

6. Can Anyone Solve Golf’s Multi Media Muddle?

Three pieces of low-key, well-hidden and – to the average punter at least – unimportant news were simultaneously released just as the holiday season began, and none, individually or collectively made happy reading for professional golf as we know it.

First-up, research by Ampere Analysis found that 18 to 24-year-olds, the younger end of the so-called ‘Millennial’ age group, were, ‘Significantly less likely,’ to consider themselves sports fans than the overall population.

According to Ampere’s findings, young people are now 17% less likely to identify sport as their favourite form of programming than the general population and that traditional TV audiences for sport were down by some 20% in a decade, including the hallowed English Premier League, whilst Formula 1 has lost 35% of its live TV audience since 2008.

Second, SportsBusiness Daily reported that audiences for the 2016 Ryder Cup were also down by 17% in the USA, despite the Stars & Stripes snatching the tiny gold trophy, in their own backyard and time-zones, from the clutches of those pesky Europeans for the first time in eight years.

Thirdly, YouTube research revealed that six out of 10 people of all ages (and eight out of 10 ‘Millennials,’) preferred online video platforms like Netflix and Amazon to live TV, and that the average YouTube viewing session was 40 minutes with the optimum length of a YouTube video was four-minutes and 30-seconds.

Dull, boring, irrelevant statistics, unless you are a major traditional broadcaster with an expensive live sports portfolio, the marketing chief of a professional golf circuit or a business-to-consumer sponsor of a multi-million-dollar golf tournament.

Golf, as TV content is predicated upon the viewer having the time and the inclination to watch a four-day tournament unfold, like Test Match Cricket, the subtle nuances the main attraction for more mature viewers.

Perhaps those number-crunchers and algorithm wonks at Nike HQ in Beaverton, Oregon, USA have got it spot-on when deciding to pull the rug on its two main golf draw cards, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy and shut-down its golf equipment division with almost immediate effect.


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