The Ryder Cup media revolution…

There has been a sea change in media communications at the Ryder Cup
(Image credit: © ROLEX/Phil Shephard-Lewis)

The world of media has been changing apace, and Ryder Cup Europe has been doing everything it can to stay ahead of the game as Jeremy Ellwood discovers...

Earlier today, I sat down with Mark Lichtenhein, Head of TV & New Media for Ryder Cup Europe, to find out just how much the event had grown. It doesn’t need me to tell you that the way we receive and digest media has changed enormously over the past decade, but some of the facts and figures he provided us with were quite sobering.

Mark Lichtenhein of the European Tour

Mark Lichtenhein of the European Tour

It all comes at a significant price though, which is why the support of strong partners like Rolex is essential for Ryder Cup Europe to be able to keep driving things forwards. Here’s the pick of what he told us…

* The event here at Gleneagles this week is twice as big in terms of infrastructure as even Celtic Manor four years ago, and five to 10 times as big when it comes to technology.

* The outdoor wireless network set-up this week is the biggest ever for an outdoor event in the UK – there is more connectivity at Gleneagles this week than in the whole of Perthshire!

* The Ryder Cup 2014 is the biggest outside broadcast ever produced for an outdoor sport in the UK.

* There are 1,000 people working in the broadcast compound this week, and beyond that 1,000 accredited journalists and photographers.

Over 1,000 journalists and photographers are working at Gleneagles

Over 1,000 journalists and photographers are working at Gleneagles

* The Ryder Cup 2014 is being broadcast live to 180 territories around the world via 50 broadcasters.

* The TV compound has a temporary hotel on site in the form of 250 SnoozeBox rooms, so key production staff can sleep on site in case of traffic or other issues

* Work started on the infrastructure on the PGA Centenary course over four years ago, with over 250km of cable now laid out on the course – four years preparation for an event that lasts three days!

* As recently as 2002 there was no broadband connectivity in the Ryder Cup media centre – it was all still dial-up. There is 15Gb of connectivity at Gleneagles this week!

Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and instruction. He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, a highly regarded trade publication for golf club secretaries and managers, and has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played well over 950 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, right across the spectrum from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf

Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response