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ORLANDO/CENTRAL FLORIDA The 59th-annual P.G.A. Merchandise Show—the largest convention for golf professionals from around the world—is using technology to enable its exhibitors to showcase new products and services directly to the public, giving them exposure far beyond the 42,000 P.G.A. professionals and buyers who attended the event Thursday through Saturday at the Orange County Convention Center. For the first time, organizers produced videos highlighting various aspects of the convention and shared them for free on the event’s Web site, and on pga.com and golfchannel.com.
“There’s such exciting content that’s shared here. And because of the very nature of the golf business, it has a lot of appeal to consumers,” said Ed Several, senior vice president of P.G.A. Golf Exhibitions. “The idea was, 'How can we create a platform for a business-to-business private event and still enable exhibitors and consumers to connect without interrupting the business flow?'” In addition to posting the videos on the three Web sites, organizers shared them through LinkedIn groups and on Twitter with the hashtag #pgam12.
Organizers are calling this a pilot program and are gathering feedback to determine whether to continue it next year and also whether to monetize it. “Right now it is not as an advertising-supported platform, but it is something we are looking at in the future. It’s a way of being able to take all of the great educational content and the new news content, and being able to send it to a broader audience,” Several said.
Three video production teams traveled around the exhibit hall, interviewing exhibitors about new products and covering activities such as the remarks by Jack Nicklaus at the opening ceremony and fashion shows produced by apparel companies. The video crews also traveled to Orange County National golf course on Wednesday to capture P.G.A. professionals testing equipment from more than 80 companies at the 10th-annual Outdoor Demo Day.
Of the more than 1,000 companies at this year's show, more than 300 were first-time exhibitors. In addition to the trade show, the event included meetings sponsored by various golf organizations, more than 60 educational seminars, equipment demonstrations, award programs, and an employment center.