Gas stations have TV sets at the pumps. Supermarkets have TVs at checkouts. Airports have TVs at the gates. And now, golf courses will have ad-supported TVs built into the carts golfers use to get around the course.
Verizon Media teamed with Australian golfer Greg Norman (known as “The Shark”) and Edison Interactive on Shark Experience. It’s a news, information and advertising platform for golfers, with golf carts made by Club Car.
Shark Experience lets golfers see a visual of the golf course, hole-by-hole, with tips for how to play each one, watch news or sports, or listen to music or ESPN radio from their golf cart. Edison Interactive is also a partner in the endeavor.
“I recently had a chance to test-drive the carts on the course,” wrote Ryan Asselta, reporting for the Golf magazine website in 2017, when the concept was first announced and in test mode. “It marked the first time I had ever teed it up with my own walk-up song (Luke Bryan’s ‘Kick the Dust Up’). I was also able to easily get my yardages while watching highlights and analysis from the weekend’s Penn State-Ohio State football game.”
Verizon Media works as a demand and supply-side provider for the golf cart service.
“This is the first time Verizon Media advertisers have access to the unique inventory,” said Iván Markman, chief business officer at Verizon Media, responding to Marketing Daily queries. “Shark Experience ran a limited test advertising campaign last year, but this integration is the first major advertising opportunity at scale. Targeting parameters include dayparting and geo-targeting, which enable advertisers to target specific times and golf courses within the radius of a store,” and other variables.
Markman says Shark Experience is available in over 23,000 Club Car-connected golf cards on Verizon’s 4G LTE network at more than 250 golf courses, “with thousands of new carts added every month.” He said Club Car is now offering golf courses the option of including Shark Experience into new carts.
Verizon did not explain how golf courses benefit financially from aligning with Shark Experience, and did not identify any advertisers that will appear on it.
Not everybody will like having a TV set attached to their golf cart, just as there are some motorists who aren’t too keen to see them at the gas pump.
For one thing, golf is a notoriously quiet game, a fact that is underscored by the hushed TV announcers at tournaments.
The Rock, a golf course in Ontario, Canada, has an etiquette tip sheet that reads, in part, “Avoid bringing beepers, pagers, or cellular phones onto the golf course. If you must do so, turn them off while on the course. Also, if your watch beeps, remember to turn it off at the starter’s desk. Having these things go off whether accidentally or intentionally when a player is swinging is considered very rude."
But lots of golfers already play music while teeing off, and The Shark Experience claims its speakers are designed so only the driver is likely to hear it.
Markman says, “This is an additive experience, providing information, entertainment and utility from brands. Campaigns could be promoting a new show, the air times of a broadcasted golf tournament, golf equipment and more. . . Similarly, Shark Experience offers a myriad of entertainment options such as live-streaming of golf tournaments, music via music apps and connectivity via Bluetooth to play music.”