First all-female announce team in golf assembled to bring final round to worldwide audience
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA, February 23, 2017 - The Symetra Tour, Road to the LPGA, announced Thursday that the first-ever Facebook Live broadcast of a women’s professional golf tournament round will take place at the season-opening event. An all-female announce team, the first ever in golf, will broadcast the final round of the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic from approximately 4:00-6:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 12. This is the first time that the Symetra Tour has ever showcased live golf. The broadcast will originate from the LPGA’s Facebook page (Facebook.com/LPGA).
The Florida’s Natural Charity Classic is a 54-hole tournament with the first round taking place on Friday, March 10 at Country Club of Winter Haven in Central Florida. The tournament offers a purse of $125,000 with a winner’s payout of $18,750.
“The Symetra Tour is growing rapidly both in the United States and internationally so we want to showcase these next generation talents to a worldwide audience,” explained Chief Business Officer Mike Nichols. “The Facebook Live platform has emerged as a viable way - both from a distribution and economic standpoint - for professional sports organizations like ours to attract a larger audience. This is really cutting edge. We’re excited about this broadcast, and are exploring long term options to broadcast more events.”
The Tour has contracted VISTA Worldlink, whose client base includes Major League Soccer, WWE and ESPN amongst many others, to manage the technical aspects and produce the broadcast. Former CBS Sports employee Mike Freedman, who worked on the PGA TOUR package while at CBS, will serve as the lead producer.
“By embracing emerging technologies VISTA bridges the “traditional” with the “new” broadcast solutions in order to deliver high quality programing for organizations like the Symetra Tour,” said Josh Liemer, Vice President of VISTA Worldlink. “This telecast allows their fan base the ability to enjoy live matches directly integrated into social media.”
There will be a remote television production truck on site at Country Club of Winter Haven and broadcast cameras positioned throughout the back nine to capture the action.
“We are excited that the Symetra Tour selected the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic to be a part of this inaugural broadcast via Facebook Live and look forward to being a part of this experience,” said Chris Groom, Chief Marketing Officer of Florida’s Natural Growers. “It will also be a great opportunity for viewers to see the State of Florida where all of the oranges in Florida’s Natural® Brand juices are grown and squeezed.”
The Symetra Tour has also assembled the first-ever all female announce team for a golf broadcast. The host will be Amy Rogers, who is the managing editor and host of LPGA.com. Rogers, who worked as a producer for Golf Channel prior to joining the LPGA in 2015, was a sports anchor at WESH in Orlando and a host and feature reporter of the Emmy Award winning show “One” on WUCF-TV. She also was a sports anchor at WRNN/Fios 1 in New York City. Major champion Karen Stupples, who won the Weetabix Women’s British Open in 2004, will serve as the lead analyst. Stupples is an on-course reporter for Golf Channel network telecasts of the LPGA Tour and played on Tour from 1999-2014. Former LPGA and Symetra Tour standout Sara Brown will serve as a second analyst and an interactive host. Brown, who co-hosted School of Golf on Golf Channel and competed on the Big Break series, will also come out of the booth to do interactive segments. The 18th hole interviewer will be Golf Channel Morning Drive co-host Bailey Mosier, who has been with Golf Channel since 2011 and made her Morning Drive debut at the Symetra Tour Championship in 2014.
“The LPGA Tour, both playing and announcing, has been a large part of my life for the past 18 years,” said Stupples. I have witnessed the growth of the Symetra Tour and have seen first-hand the quality of players it produces. It will be a huge honor to be part of the first-ever Symetra Tour broadcast on Facebook Live as it will give more people the opportunity to watch the players’ skills and witness the future stars of the LPGA.”
Florida’s Natural is helping to underwrite the broadcast with the support of four presenting sponsors: Visit Central Florida, Springer-Peterson, Duke Energy and Boring.