How can IMG make The 2019 Solheim Cup great?

By: July 22, 2016

Probably you remember that Scotland won last year the right of hosting The 2019 Solheim Cup. The tournament will be held at The Gleneagles Hotel. It seems like that Scotland does not leave the success to chance. VisitScotland on behalf of The Scottish Government appointed IMG (staging partner) to be a staging partner.

I think I don’t have to introduce you IMG (organizer of the Ricoh Women’s British Open, Volvo World Match Play Championship, The Open Championship (UK), The Honda Classic etc.), but by selecting them, they are partnering with the world’s most prolific producer and distributor of golf programming (e.g. Golfing World YouTube Channel has got 34,363 subscribers).

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “We want to use The 2019 Solheim Cup to encourage greater participation among women, young people and families and IMG’s strong track record in the women’s game will help us to achieve this.” Well, Scotland and Scottish golf clubs should make more efforts on this issue, since women’s participation in Scotland is one of the lowest in Europe (13%; the European average is 25%).

In general, both private and public golf clubs should not even think about refusing women membership. I totally agree with the first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, who said thatMuirfield’s decision to continue refusing women on becoming members is “indefensible””.  Such ban is also bad for the reputation and image of Scotland.

Solheim Cup

How could IMG attract more people to The 2019 Solheim Cup?

Somehow we have to come up with solutions to “compete with the couch” to attract fans to The Gleneagles Hotel since the home viewing experience improved a lot in recent years.

This requires upgrading in-venue Wi-Fi (should be free!) to rolling out beacon-based location technology and expanding mobile concession ordering and retail purchasing. This can help to heighten fan engagement. In the very same place in 2014, during the Ryder Cup, the organizers did not use NFC solution (Near Field Communication) or mobile wallet solutions (e.g. Google Wallet, Apple’s Passbook, Lemon Wallet).

One of this year’s digital trends is the usage of live streaming mobile applications (e.g. Periscope). By providing high-speed Wi-Fi we can expand the reach of the coverage of the event.

Another interesting challenge is, how can we create a meaningful and shareable experience for fans that lasts beyond the game and the venue.

The organizers of The 2019 Solheim Cup should consider the entire fan experience lifecycle (see end-to-end customer journey mapping and management). This lifecycle that starts with pondering whether to go or not and ends with the following up with the attendees after The 2019 Solheim Cup event ends.

We should achieve that the golf fans will recognize the value of paying to watch The 2019 Solheim Cup in-person instead of at home.

Finally, such changes/”renovation” in the venue can even convince potential sponsors to support the event. We should not neglect social media and the mobile app as potential sponsorship assets.