Masters Live on CBSSports.com Engages Fans Beyond TV
As the calendar flips from March to April, the previous month’s madness fades away, and a calmer tradition takes its place. This week, the Masters returns to the Augusta National Golf Club, and Masters Live returns to CBSSports.com. The Website, in conjunction with Masters.com, CBS Sports, and the Masters Tournament, will provide live video coverage throughout the week. From April 2 through the final round on April 8, Masters Live will present more than 90 hours of live golf coverage over four channels.
Earlier this week, CBSSports.com unveiled a live show originating from Augusta National’s Tournament Practice Range. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, Masters Live provided live video coverage of the Practice Rounds. In addition, Masters on the Range featured interviews with players, analysis of the field, and commentary provided by Jennifer Mills, Billy Kratzert, and Peter Oosterhuis. Masters on the Range, available through CBSSports.com, was also simulcast on CBS Sports Network.
“[Masters on the Range] increases the interest in the Masters Tournament a little earlier in the week,” says CBS Interactive GM Jason Kint. “It was a natural shift [to provide live video coverage] at the beginning of the week as news starts coming out of Augusta National. This gives direct access to watch the players on the range in [a] new way that hasn’t been shown before, particularly over the Internet.”
When the tournament tees off on Thursday, CBSSports.com will once again provide live streaming video from the Amen Corner (holes 11, 12, and 13), holes 15 and 16, and a featured group on holes 10-18.
CBS Sports’ digital coverage of the Masters will originate in a separate trailer from the linear broadcast, with a dedicated producer and director. A camera operator will be dispatched to each of the three live-streaming locations — Amen Corner, holes 15 and 16, and the featured group — with an earpiece connected to both the television and the digital directors. If a particular site is being broadcast on the linear channel, the television director will take control, and the linear and digital channels will share the feed. Otherwise, the digital production directs the camera operator at each live-streaming location.
Immediately following the conclusion of CBS Sports’ television coverage on Saturday and Sunday, CBSSports.com will present a Masters Live Recap Show, which will review all of Saturday’s and Sunday’s action and will be available live and on demand.
In addition to the live video streaming throughout the tournament, CBSSports.com will offer on-demand video highlights, including highlights from Wednesday’s Par 3 contest, player interviews, daily highlight reels, historic highlight reels, and Augusta National aerial shots.
The 768×432 video player uses adaptive-bitrate streaming, ranging from 350 kbps to 2,200 kbps. If users select full-screen, 2,200 kbps is the best bitrate available; the best in-page bitrate available is 1,800 kbps. All elements of Masters Live will be available free of charge at CBSSports.com and Masters.com. The Masters retains the mobile rights to the tournament, with a free mobile app for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices designed to complement the television broadcast.
“With Thursday and Friday access, most people don’t have access to a television at work, and it gives the fan a way to engage and watch what’s going on during the day on some of the most coveted holes on the course,” says Kint. “It’s a unique way to view the Masters, but, at the same time, it’s also a way to see live golf particularly on Thursday and Friday. The earlier you can get the fan engaged and the more you can get them engaged, wherever they are, the better the main event will be.”