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The Open achieves impressive digital fan engagement results at Royal Portrush

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The Open is celebrating a successful 148th staging of golf’s original Championship both on and off The Royal Portrush course, as its digital platform delivered a new level of access for fans during the event.

The new official website, TheOpen.com, designed and developed by Delete, offered an unprecedented insight to The 148th Open across its four days, for both those in attendance at the Championship in Northern Ireland and the millions following it online around the world.

With TheOpen.com set to a new ‘Live Mode’, fans were able to access the latest coverage and enjoy up-to-the-minute action from the course as it unfolded, with detailed leaderboards, live data and stats, supplemented by in-depth player information.

This was enhanced by a new Open TV video hub, which featured highlights and interviews as they happened, all underpinned by access to a variety of real time stats and data visualisations, allowing fans to experience golf’s oldest Championship like never before.

The new platform carded impressive year-on-year results during its first Championship. For instance, the number of sessions per user increased by 15.51%, meaning more fans kept coming back. Pageviews also increased by 24.06%, with fans looking at almost a quarter more content than before.

Average session duration increased by 55.78%, testament to the unrivalled access and info available, while more than a quarter of a million sign ups to Live Streaming – more fans engaging with The Open and watching the action unfold online.

It also saw the highest ever future event ticket sales achieved during the championship week and more than 20m ad impressions during the tournament – ensuring The Open’s partners got the exposure they required.

Kevin McQuillan, Head of Marketing at the R&A, explains: “TheOpen.com is a vital component for The Open’s year round brand communication. Our brief for Delete was to ensure we could achieve the twin objectives of delivering the very best user experience for millions around the world who follow The Open during Championship week and to ensure we could optimise the customer journey to deliver a great end-to-end experience for all who decide to attend and those who follow The Open throughout the year.”

He continues: “From a business perspective, the ability to understand more about our fans through their interactions on the site is key. Delete has also successfully developed the platform to deliver data insights which support our aim to deliver fans with the most engaging content we can through a mobile first platform.”

Damon Mangos, Head of Strategy at Delete, adds: “We are delighted to be working with such a prestigious organisation as The R&A, on one of the world’s most iconic sports Championships. During The Championship, our team worked closely on-site with The R&A team to ensure the smooth running of the platform and that fans got the experience they needed. With the battle for fan attention never greater, The R&A team wanted a website that would lead not only within the golf industry but also in the wider sports world. We believe we delivered on this.”

The 148th Open at Royal Portrush took place from 14-21 July and the famous Claret Jug was lifted by Ireland’s Shane Lowry.

While an improved fan experience was the motivating factor for the creation of the new website, supporting The R&A’s commercial goals was another important driver. These included: to sell out every Open Championship, to grow The One Club (The Open’s own membership platform) and maximise the number of fans engaging online with The Open during each Championship week. Each of these were met by Delete’s strategy.

However, with a further goal to broaden interest outside the tournament week, Delete has also delivered a rich and dynamic digital interface to capture interest and drive repeat visits throughout the year.

Delete was appointed by The R&A at the beginning of 2018, adding to the agency’s growing sports roster which includes The FA and Premier League football club Southampton.

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