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ESPN+ kicks off nine-year PGA Tour deal with four simultaneous feeds

ESPN+ started its nine-year digital rights deal with the PGA Tour as the Sentry Tournament of Champions tees off today at Kapalua, with "live coverage on four simultaneous feeds from all four rounds, which adds more than 3,200 new hours of live streaming and a total of more than 4,300 exclusive hours over 35 tournaments," according to Doug Ferguson of the AP. The two featured groups "will be on one of the ESPN+ channels." A second channel "will be devoted to the 'marquee group' that will be determined each tournament." That channel "will show every shot from every player." A third channel "will be devoted to featured holes, primarily the par 3s or other pivotal holes." The other channel "will be considered the main feed, a collection of video pulled together from all the other channels," which essentially "would be a traditional presentation." ESPN VP/Digital Media Programming & Acquisitions John Lasker believes that this "will be the most engaged feed of the four channels based on what ESPN has learned from doing the last two PGA Championships." He said that it "would be most comparable to what viewers will see from network coverage in the afternoon." More content "will require 16 cameras across the course and a 15-person talent crew calling the shots on four separate channels." The weekly production crew, onsite and remote, is "increasing from about 85 people to more than 210." ESPN+ now has more than 17 million subscribers (AP, 1/4).

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