SBJ/Jan. 17-23, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Shot-tracking tech firm renews with PGA Tour

The Danish company that provides the 3-D shot-making technology on the PGA Tour has agreed to a five-year extension with the tour.

TrackMan, co-founded in 2003 by an engineer and a doctor fond of golf, measures the launch angle, ball flight and other characteristics of a golf shot. Many of those measurements are used on the TV broadcast of PGA Tour events.

Terms of the arrangement were not available, but Klaus Eldrup Jorgensen, co-founder and CEO of TrackMan, said the money really isn’t as significant as the exposure TrackMan receives on the broadcasts.

“The brand gets mentioned quite often,” said Jorgensen, who practiced as a physician for five years before returning to school for an MBA and eventually running TrackMan from Vedbaek, Denmark. “That’s primarily what we get out of it.”

TrackMan has found its technology useful in baseball as well, where it has made sales to the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox, among MLB teams, but golf remains the core business.

Most of TrackMan’s $8 million a year in annual sales come from the manufacturers that buy TrackMan to improve equipment, while also providing a more accurate fit for the club-buying public.

Jorgensen said practically every club, ball and shaft manufacturer is a buyer, and more than 60 tour pros internationally have bought the TrackMan system for their practice purposes. They include Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter, Martin Kaymer and Ben Curtis, Jorgensen said.

For the tour, TrackMan provides information to both aid the broadcast and help the tour deliver its product to the consumer. Steve Evans, the tour’s vice president of information systems, said the information enables the tour to provide more than just the scores to the fans. “It helps demonstrate the abilities of PGA Tour pros,” he said.

Among the stats that are kept: club speed, ball speed, shot trajectory, carry, launch angle, launch direction and ball spin rate. The tour collects this information annually, which provides a year-to-year measure in those categories, and also uses it for ShotLink and other elements online at PGATour.com.

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