Record crowds at The 2019 Solheim Cup

By: September 17, 2019

I was so happy to see Europe is winning The 2019 Solheim Cup for the first time since 2013.

What is even nicer is the record crowds. More than 90,000 turned out to watch The 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles – making it the highest attended women’s golf event ever held in the UK.

Law Ciganda 2019 Solheim Cup

Highlights for the week of The 2019 Solheim Cup include:

  • More than 5,000 junior admissions;
  • 13,487 spectators through taking part in golf zone activities;
  • Innovative accessibility program (see picture below) with fully accessible viewing areas and free to hire mobility scooters;
  • More than 3,000 hours of broadcast coverage in 200 territories around the world;
  • More than 6,000 spectators at the live televised Opening Ceremony headlined by Texas
Mobility at the 2019 Solheim Cup

The Scottish Government is fully funded The 2019 Solheim Cup with a budget of up to £19m. IMG was the official staging partner for The 2019 Solheim Cup.

It was great to see that the organizers created an accessibility program. Such initiatives can demonstrate the organizers’ social responsibility that embrace diversity and inclusivity.

If we want to step further in the area then we could add beyond wheelchair accessibility these as well:

  • Codes of conduct emphasizing tolerance of all gender identities, sexual or orientations, religious affiliations, and ethnic identities.
  • Gender neutral options on registration forms.
  • Gender neutral rest rooms.

The rise of smart venues

Venues are the second most important element of live experiences. This why it is important to design carefully the experience we would like to provide.

The PwC Sports Survey 2019 found that the TOP3 opportunities for organizers to increase revenues are

  1. Improved fan engagement,
  2. Enhanced media offering (e.g. OTT platforms),
  3. Improved live event experience.

The organizers of The 2015 Solheim Cup (Golf Club St. Leon-Rot, Germany) were smart when they decided to develop a mobile application ( powered by SAP HANA® Cloud Platform).

It showed the fans all relevant information about the tournament, including player profiles, venue information, an interactive quiz and many additional features.

This year, I really missed that mobile application. The LPGA Now mobile application only told the basic event information, the results and the players, but nothing more.

The LPGA Fan Experience application was not available during the event. I think the organizers could have copied the smart initiative of the PGA TOUR.

Last year, the The PGA Tour introduced PGA Tour AR, a new augmented reality (AR) app bringing live AR tournament coverage to life for fans around the world on their iPhones and iPads.

Thanks to the AR app fans could interact with 3D featured holes and live 3D shot trails on any flat surface right in front of them.


To exploit the benefits of mobile marketing is really crucial in the coming years to reach and engage more fans and viewers.

Here are some important mobile marketing facts:

  • 33% of our time we spend on mobile, 34% on TV. (Source: IAB & PwC study, 2018)
  • In the US: people spend 3.6 hours on mobile. (Source: eMarketer)
  • 2018 was the last year in the US when people spent more time on TV versus mobile.
  • 88% of us are using a second digital device while watching TV.
  • The total number of downloads both in the iOS App Store and the Android Play Store exceeded 113 billion in 2018. This is a 10% growth since 2017.

These are very few examples, but they show the media consumption trends. If you need more insights then search for Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends 2019 presentation.

This tells me that if we want to create an outstanding fan experience and activate passive golf fans and potential future golfers then we cannot afford not to utilize mobile marketing.

Live streaming & The 2019 Solheim Cup

Now, let’s move on to a positive part of my review. It is very good that the organizers utilized the live streaming technology to reach more viewers.

This could be a new stream of revenue for the future golf tournament organizers. See why:

  • User penetration is 14.5% in 2019 and is expected to hit 16.2% by 2023.
  • Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2019-2023) of 3.2%, resulting in a market volume of US$28,151m by 2023.
  • In 2019: 1,067.0m users. This is a 5% growth vs 2018.
  • The video streaming market — valued at $22.6 billion last year and estimated to grow to $30.6 billion by 2022, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers — has more than 100 players competing for users’ attention.
  • As of 2018, Netflix generated more revenue than any other video streaming service (vs, Amazon, Hulu, etc.).
  • Streaming video-on-demand (SVOD) and OTT subscriptions are very popular since they are ad free (yet). They are the fastest-growing components of the video ecosystem.
AI & the future of fan engagement

If we really want to impress our golf fans then we should consider AI-powered services, content optimization (e.g. Wimbledon used IBM Watson solution to curate what are predictively the most engaging highlight videos.), etc.

GettyImages-1174381433 2019 Solheim Cup

If we help our fans with personalized and authentic content, then it will be easier for them to create and share their own Solheim Cup / Ryder Cup / PGA Tour / European Tour /etc. story.

This personalisation drives loyalty and engagement within the existing Solheim Cup fan base.

Photo credits: Getty Images.