Thought leadership articles by IABM and our members
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The oldest of the four golf majors, The Open Championship represents the pinnacle of achievement for the world’s greatest golfers. For over one hundred years, fans have been enthralled by golfing legends such as Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, and the superstars of today including Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth, compete for the most prestigious title in golf.

With a global audience of millions, the appetite to catch all the highlights from 4 days of play by the sport’s best golfers is extremely high – particularly over social media.

At the 148th Open Championship at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, leading sports rights agency, IMG, was on location with the R&A to deliver all the best action to fans as fast as possible – using Blackbird as their cloud video editing platform of choice.

With live streams feeding into Blackbird, IMG’s digital team on location at the course was able to rapidly clip, edit and publish highlights to Twitter in a matter of seconds. Conditions and bandwidth were unpredictable at times but with Blackbird able to run on just 2Mb per second, the team met the insatiable hunger for content from golf fans all over the world. They were supported by IMG’s digital team in London also using Blackbird to edit and publish highlights in real time and generate high quality content assets for archive and future use.

To drive engagement and reach, the IMG team was able to add emojis, tag players and sponsors, as well as apply geo and playback restrictions to support international rights control.

Hundreds of magical moments were delivered within seconds to golf fans over Twitter – including Emiliano Grillo’s hole-in-one and winner Shane Lowry’s victory walk up the 18th hole. As well as the top golfing action, the best behind-the-scenes content including player interviews, press conferences and practice sessions also proved to be very popular with fans on Twitter.

Using Blackbird, the tournament’s highlights were viewed millions of times on Twitter – delivering very high exposure, engagement and monetization opportunities for what was one of the greatest Open Championships in living memory.