Streaming PGA Tour Events Still a Work in Progress

High tech has come to pro golf in a number of different ways.  Streaming video of PGA Tour events isn't quite there yet.  At least not in the opinion of one firm that monitors such things.

Keynote Competitive Research, the industry analysis group of Keynote Systems, monitored the live streaming performance – meaning streaming quality and availability – of the World Golf Championship held in Doral, Florida last week. The company monitored live streams of the event from 16 geographical locations worldwide during the final round last Sunday.   Keynote tested streaming performance at some time during the final day of the tournament from 23 different geographic locations.  The results: online streaming performance was far from a hole in one. In fact, they say the performance was rather dismal. While some lucky golf enthusiasts may have been able to view the entire tournament at high quality, many others were unable to even connect to the streams and likely switched back to watching the event on television.

The overall availability of live streams of the event, was at a very low 64 percent. It appears that among North American cities San Francisco, Seattle and Atlanta experienced the best streaming performance, while viewers in Chicago, Washington, New York and LA might not have gotten very far in being successfully able to view the event as it was being streamed live. Streaming performance in London, Paris and Amsterdam was better than the four poor performing US cities. The good news is that people who did manage to actually connect to the World Golf Championships’ live streams had an excellent user experience, much like they would have experienced had they watched the event on live television.

The majority of the problems occurred between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. ET, when connection timeouts and buffering events peaked for certain locations. Also, as the tournament was coming to its highlight, the critical 18th hole, overall availability dropped to below 20 percent.  That will certainly frustrate those who were hoping to see the decisive action online.  Keynote says the infrastructure for allowing many people to view a live streamed event concurrently is still in great need of improvement.

Keynote tentatively plans to monitor streaming video of The Masters April 6th to April 12th.