Why the European Tour is a lesson in social media done right

In the lead-up the Masters at the start of April, the European Tour doesn’t actually set foot in Europe.

A host of events in Asia at the start of the year, hosted alongside various other tours, are held in the build-up to the first major of the year, whilst the opening European event takes place in Spain the following week.

Weather plays its part, of course, as does sponsorship and the need to spread the sport globally.

But the European Tour are used to building excitement around events in places where their fans aren’t located. After all, French golf fans will only get the chance to attend an event in their own country a couple of times a year – one of them this year will be the Ryder Cup in Paris in September. As a result, the Tour has plenty of experience in using its social media channels and working with its broadcast partners to ensure that fans can always follow – something which is important even if you do happen to live in the country where the event is being held: around half of the action takes place when most people are still at work.

But perhaps the most important part is showcasing the players themselves – not just their sporting prowess, but what it’s like to actually be them.

It’s a cliche but it’s still important for a league or a club to showcase its athletes. They say that the NBA is in a better position to the NFL to capitalise on how modern fans consume sport since basketball has only a few players per team and fans can see their faces, whereas American football has over 50 per roster and they all wear helmets. If that’s the case, golf should be in the best place of the lot – it’s an individual sport with so many different talents on show at any one time, and where each shot can be captured as a moment in itself and spread out to social media.

There has been a big drive in recent years to showcase the personalities of each individual golfer, something which also serves to highlight their on-course styles, too. More importantly, it cultivates fanbases for the biggest players, but it’s also up to the league to build profiles for the less well-known players, too.

There has been a lot of praise for the European Tour’s digital output. At a Digital Sport event before Christmas, three panelists representing different leagues and rights holders were asked who they felt was doing a great job reaching fans on social, and all were in unanimous in mentioning the European Tour. Golf may not seem like the most social-media friendly at first glance, but when you think about it, it should be easy to see the potential.

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 772 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

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