ESPN reached a deal with organizers of the Masters Golf Tournament that will allow it to offer expansive online coverage to complement its inaugural on-air coverage of the first two days of the major tournament, which runs April 10-13 from Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga.
ESPN will provide live streaming of all ESPN event telecasts on its ESPN360.com subscription-based site; live streaming of “Amen Corner” and “Masters Extra” on masters.org; live “look-ins” on tournament action and extensive highlights on ESPN.com; an online “Putting Game”; and fantasy and trivia games.
ESPN.com will also continue a previous collaboration with Golf Digest for extensive online editorial coverage of the Masters, which will include contributions from Golf Digest and Golf World editors, ESPN podcasts and live chats.
ESPN -- which has collaborated with the Masters for digital-media coverage for the past five years -- snagged the domestic TV rights for the first time in 2008. It has exclusive U.S. television rights to the first two rounds of the tournament, which had previously been shown on USA Network. The third and fourth rounds will continue to be shown by CBS.
ESPN will also televise the Par 3 Contest Wednesday, April 9 from 3 p.m.-5 p.m. (EST) -- the first time this annual event has been shown on TV.
The broadcast of the Par 3 tournament and the broad new-media push is part of Augusta National’s overall strategy to make the Masters more appealing to younger viewers and consistent with ESPN's leave-no-stone-unturned approach to covering major sporting events.
As such, ESPN360.com will provide live broadband streaming of Wednesday-Friday ESPN coverage, including the Par 3 Contest, a simulcast of ESPN’s television coverage of the first two rounds of the tournament and on-demand coverage of the Putting Green ceremony Sunday (also available on masters.org).
Free video on ESPN.com will include one-click link access to masters.org coverage from “Amen Corner,” holes 15 and 16; player interviews; Masters Extra; live “look-ins” on ESPN.com, providing fans with quick hits of live coverage of the Par 3 Contest and the 72nd Masters Tournament Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; extensive video highlights; original ESPN feature and analysis video; historical highlights from past Masters Tournaments; and a course “walking tour” in conjunction with masters.org.
Other multiplatform Masters coverage from the sports giant includes ESPN.com coverage led by national columnist Gene Wojciechowski, ESPN.com golf writer Bob Harig and ESPN.com golf editor Jason Sobel; a live ESPN.com Masters blog; live audio updates and interviews on ESPNRadio.com; an “E-Ticket” multimedia feature package from ESPN.com and ESPN-The Magazine; ESPN audio slideshows and photo galleries; live chats with ESPN, Golf Digest and Golf World analysts and reporters; ESPN SportsNation polls; a daily video podcast; multiple audio podcasts available via the ESPN PodCenter, Apple’s iTunes and Microsoft’s X Box Live platform; and scores, analysis and information delivered to mobile-phone users via ESPN.com’s WAP (wireless-access-point) site.