“During #FedExCup, PGA TOUR Capitalizing On Twitter Vending Machine Trend” by Mark J. Burns, Forbes

How do professional sports leagues and major properties enhance the on-site experience for die-hard fans and consumers? It’s the million-dollar question that corporate marketers, communications professionals and digital strategists have been repeatedly asking themselves over the past five years.

In 2015, that ‘experience’ for fans is now being ever so closely tied to social and digital media. The ‘selfie station’ and ‘Twitter mirror’ have both emerged in the past two years, and today, the ‘Twitter vending machine’ has caught on with teams, brands and properties.

The PGA TOUR is the latest sports entity utilizing the creative tool as part of its fan engagement strategy; it will be present throughout the FedExCup Playoffs starting this weekend at The Barclays.

“Connecting a real-world, offline experience to something online is powerful and it’s something the PGA TOUR has a lot of passion for,” said Sloane Kelley, Executive Producer, PGA TOUR Digital. “The program will give fans a unique opportunity to experience a type of technology they probably haven’t seen before.”

The Twitter vending machine concept is a ‘win’ for the TOUR and fans in a few respects. With consumers having to tweet an answer to, ‘“Who is your favorite PGA TOUR player in the FedExCup playoffs?’ they’ll be talking about the latter part of the TOUR season and spreading the conversation online. Additionally, they’re also sharing content with followers and driving a discussion through the use of the #FedExCup hashtag, ultimately being brand ambassadors for the TOUR whether they consciously realize it or not.

“The entire experience from using the machine to getting a prize is also the kind of thing people will want to tell their friends about, earning them instant social currency,” Kelley said.

Added Andrew Barge, Sports Partnerships Manager, Twitter: “The PGA TOUR recognizes Twitter as a vehicle to connect fans with the game they love. The PGA TOUR’s Twitter vending machine will showcase this connection on-site, but their commitment to fan access extends even further — to the airwaves, to web and mobile platforms — and across other platforms like Vine and Periscope. You’ll see this 360-degree approach on full display throughout the FedExCup Playoffs.”

Between 140-240 prizes will be awarded on each day of FedExCup competition, including cell phones, wallets, lapels, pins, premium experiences and PGA TOUR player meet-greets.

Mark works in Talent Marketing at Atlanta-based sports and entertainment marketing agency, CSE. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkJBurns88. He can be reached at mburns@groupcse.com.