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PGA Tour drives fan loyalty with mobile rewards program

Golf’s PGA Tour is launching a mobile rewards program that lets fans earn points by checking into a tour event, sharing content, selecting favorite players, viewing scorecards or signing up for fantasy golf tournaments that can be redeemed for gift cards to major retailers or a charity donation.

Fans can benefit from the SessionM-developed program simply by using a mobile device at home during a tournament or participating in a fantasy tournament. The move points to the advantages of reaching consumers on mobile via an omnichannel program.

“Smartphones are the most personal and connected device in today’s world, and especially for the younger generation,” said   Scott Gutterman, vice president of digital operators for PGA Tour, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. “PGA Tour has more than one million daily visitors to the tour’s various platforms, and this collaboration with SessionM now allows those fans to be rewarded for their engagement.

“Currently, around 60 percent of those visits are to PGA Tour’s mobile platforms, so the organization is looking to motivate those fans to leverage the additional applications as well,” he said. “Through this collaboration, PGA Tour’s goal is to increase fan retention and the usage of its mobile and desktop content.”

Releasing app
The rewards program’s announcement follows PGA Tour’s release last month of a new iPad mobile application with interactive features and live video aimed at enhancing golf fans’ experience, whether they are at a tournament, watching at home or on the go.

The app provides real-time leaderboards with access to player scorecards, profiles and videos, access to live video for PGA Tour tournaments, course details and news from It also reflects PGA Tour’s commitment to connecting with audience members wherever and whenever they want to engage with content.

Earning points for interacting with leaderboard.

To use the loyalty program, a fan with a smartphone can go to the PGA Tour app.

A mobile-optimized page presents various ways to earn mPoints, including tapping to check in. 

The PGA Tour is the world’s premier membership organization for touring professional golfers, co-sanctioning more than 130 tournaments on the PGA tour, Champions Tour, Tour, PGA Tour Latinoamerica, PGA Tour Canada and PGA Tour China.

PGA Tour tournaments are broadcast to more than 1 billion households in 225 countries and territories in 32 languages. Virtually all tournaments are organized as non-profit organizations in order to maximize charitable giving.

In 2014, tournaments generated a record $140.5 million for local and national charitable organizations, after surpassing the $2 billion in all-time charitable contributions earlier in the year.

SessionM’s client roster includes NASCAR and the New England Patriots. Across all verticals, the loyalty and engagement platform powers more than 1,500 loyalty programs for leading brands.

Sports leagues and clubs, recognizing mobile’s power to drive engagement and commerce, have been rolling out loyalty programs for users of smartphones and tablets.

Last year, Major League Baseball fans begin a widespread installation of iBeacon technology at 28 ballparks, allowing fans who checked in to every home game to receive offers and rewards.

Increasing benefits
Early this year, the National Hockey League’s Buffalo Sabres bumped up its benefits for loyalty members by awarding them for purchases made at participating vendors.

Broadcasting tournaments to 1 billion households.

“The reality today is that mobile devices serve as the most personal and direct method to connect with the PGA Tour’s fan base or any type of audience,” Mr. Gutterman said. “This collaboration now allows PGA Tour to connect with any fan no matter where they are, whether it is walking the course or watching from home.

“Especially with the younger members of the PGA Tour’s fan base, it’s now a necessity to offer a mobile solution to keep them engaged.”

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York