FanBeat Ryder Cup team. From left: Andrew Vogel, Brandon Farley, Mike Richards and Tony Sullivan
From September 30 to October 2, we made a bit of history at FanBeat by launching the first ever predictive play game for live-action golf — made available to Ryder Cup viewers in partnership with Golf Channel. Viewers answered a mix of 180 predict-the-action and trivia questions over 5 discrete FanBeat games that aligned with the 5 Ryder Cup sessions. We had thousands of viewers try the game and the response was phenomenal as over half of our players returned to play multiple games.
The competition was fierce as players jockeyed to move up the session and event prize boards trying to win golf club sets, official Ryder Cup uniforms, and lots of other gear offered by Golf Channel. The overall FanBeat victory hung in the balance as Mickelson and Garcia approached the par 4 18th late in the day on Sunday. NEW QUESTION: “Mickelson & Garcia have made 17 birdies today! All square going to the 18th hole. Will birdie be in play on the final hole?” 875 points for either Mickelson or Garcia. 685 points if neither makes birdie. 1585 if both make birdie. The answer graph revealed the top choice for 42% of players as “Mickelson birdies” (unsurprisingly, we saw a bit of U.S. bias in answers throughout the weekend). The dramatic play on the course was mirrored with dramatic play in the FanBeat game as both players made big birdie putts on the 18th hole and the FanBeat prize board flipped. DandyCanuck won the weekend with 71,928 total FanBeat points, claiming a new set of clubs and a travel bag. Congratulations to DandyCanuck!
It was quite a weekend for the FanBeat and Golf Channel teams as we worked diligently to follow the action on TV and create compelling question and other game content over 15 hours of FanBeat game play. Golf presents lots of unique challenges versus other sports where we’ve had more experience like baseball and basketball. And the Ryder Cup presents its own unique challenges for predictive-play gaming with the varying match play formats, the concession of holes, and the uncertainty of when a match would end (fewer than 30% actually go to 18 holes). But our team rose to the occasion with an interesting assortment of long-horizon questions, next-shot type questions, and dozens of challenging and entertaining trivia questions. We were also able to drive lots of “clicks” to highlighted promotions including “Join Arnie’s Army“, in memory of Golf Channel founder Arnold Palmer
We appreciate the great response from all of you who played for Ryder Cup and completed our post-event survey. We loved that 90% of respondents said they’d play again without any changes to the product with the 10% responding that they’d play again with some improvements. We have lots of improvements and new features on the way and look forward to running FanBeat for many more golf tournaments in the future!