Masters To Show An Extra Hour On Internet

Friday, March 2nd 2007, 6:55 am
By: News On 6

The Masters will have one hour of coverage on its Web site before the telecast begins, an example of how new Augusta National chairman Billy Payne wants to see how new media can expand the tournament's audience.

The Masters, which will be held April 5-8, again will feature ``Amen Corner Live'' on its Web site (, showing every golfer playing the 11th, 12th and 13th holes at Augusta National.

A year ago, the club said 3.7 million unique users visited the Web Site and 3 million video streams of live action were served.

``Providing this additional coverage further demonstrates the importance we place on the Internet,'' Payne said in a statement. ``The Internet complements our broadcast and it fulfills one of our principal objectives of exposing as many people as possible to this great sport of golf. Online coverage of the Masters has great potential to reach an even larger audience.''

The Web feature called ``Masters Extra'' will be 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. EDT the first two rounds before USA Network comes on the air; 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. ahead of CBS Sports coverage on Saturday, and 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. EST before CBS' final-round coverage.

Also new this year will be live player interviews from the media center.

Payne took over for Hootie Johnson last May, and had said he would explore the use of new media.

``It's fair to say that given the mandate to reach a broad number of people around the world, you will see us constantly looking for new and better ways to do that, perhaps give greater access to more of the tournament,'' he said in a January interview.

He said some have argued that streaming video would compete with a network broadcast, ``but I'm not sure that's been proven yet.''

During his eight years as chairman, Johnson expanded television coverage by an additional hour the first three rounds, and by 1 1/2 hours the final round. Payne's focus appears to be the Internet, and CBS News and Sports president Sean McManus saw no problems.

``As viewers continue to embrace broadband video, 'Masters Extra' and 'Amen Corner Live' will enhance the experience showing more golf and more golfers throughout the four days of the Masters Tournament,'' he said.