Studies indicate that in 2013 approximately 25 percent of all business decisions, valued at one million dollars and above, were made by golfers. That, among many other reasons, explains why golfers are a coveted target audience for advertisers. Until recently, the ways to reach them were limited to websites, television channels and magazines dedicated to the sport, or static advertising at golf courses.
Digital Caddies started in 2003 as a company that provided hand-held GPS devices for golf courses and their customers. Somewhere along the way, someone in the management brilliantly put together two simple ideas: the proliferation of digital signage technology and the amount of time golfers spend in the cart during a round. Fast forward to 2014: that eureka moment has materialized into over 11,500 golf-cart-mounted touch screens connected to a centrally-controlled network.
During a four- to five-hour round, golfers continually refer to the high-end, interactive screens to access vital information about the course that includes accurate distance measurements to landmarks, details on each hole, aerial and green views, real-time score cards, and cart-to-clubhouse messaging. Full-screen video ads are displayed as linksmen drive from green to the tee box, and partial-screen, companion ads are served adjacent to course information. Golf courses can leverage the system to increase revenue via house ads and promotions for food, beverage and merchandise. The technology is also used to improve cart tracking and monitor the pace of play.
As a result, Digital Caddies network allows golf course managers to run their business more efficiently and helps players enjoy their game more, while providing advertisers with access to a premium audience in the process.
Digital Caddies’ President, Mike Loustalot, says, “The network has been expanding quickly because all three stakeholders: golfers, golf course operators and advertisers discover and appreciate the benefits of this new, unique channel of direct communication, once they try it. The company started generating advertising revenue within six months of launching, and the demand for ad space keeps growing.”
Digital Caddies assists advertisers in measuring various aspects of their campaigns by correlating ad playback logs with other data points. However, big data aside, the best tangible evidence of campaign effectiveness is repeat clients and consistently high demand for the ad slots. The list of current advertisers speaks for itself, with major brands like Intel, Sprint, Dodge, American Express, Best Buy, Corona, Mountain Dew, Pepsi, Toyota and Travelocity to name a few.
Partial-screen Heineken ad in a Digital Caddies tablet
Today Digital Caddies is the largest DOOH advertising network targeting golfers, operating more than 11,500 screens on 150 upscale courses in top 20 DMAs (designated market areas) across the US, and growing daily.
What sets Digital Caddies apart from the competition, though, is the fact that Digital Caddies is the only company that installs and manages the network of GPS-enabled tablets at no cost to qualified golf courses. Loustalot says, “Competitors charge $40K to $50K annually per golf course for similar cart-mounted screens that display game-relevant information. By contrast, Digital Caddies’ advertising revenue offsets the hardware, software and installations costs, allowing golf courses and their patrons to take advantage of this technology free of charge.”
Responding to some recent media reports that the golf industry may be in decline, Loustalot said, “The company watches the industry closely. Much has been made of the closing of marginal golf courses and, like all sports, golf has seen a decline in certain markets. Meanwhile, in the ‘post-Tiger’ era golf moves on; there is a new generation of bright starts on the rise that will certainly have a positive impact on the game’s popularity, and, moreover, will attract the tech-friendly millennials.”
According to Loustalot, the revenue opportunities for Digital Caddies are promising: “With over 15,500 golf courses in the US, the room for us to grow is huge. We project to be installed in 300 courses by January 2015 and in 700 courses by early 2016.”
Digital Caddies, Inc. is a publicly traded company: CADY on OTC Pink.
Digital Caddies is a member of Digital Place-based Advertising Association (DPAA).
Web site: digitalcaddies.net