The beauty of Augusta National Golf Club on display every April during the Masters Tournament has long been one of the key components that draws fans to watch golf’s first major of the year.
With ESPN set to again televise live play from the first two rounds of the tournament, ESPN’s marketing department set out to capture the feeling that sports fans have for the Masters in a multiplatform promotional campaign that launched in December.
And to aid in the process, ESPN enlisted the help of one of its own: journalist Tom Rinaldi, who has covered the event for many years and will be part of the live telecasts from Augusta on Thursday and Friday, April 6-7. Rinaldi not only voiced but also wrote essays for five television spots, the second of which debuted this week (see video above).
“Tom is so well-known as a master story teller, and given the history and tradition that is the Masters, we couldn’t think of a better person to drive our five-chapter narrative through the winter months all the way into April,” said Erin Thornton, director, Sports Marketing.
“As the campaign builds from each chapter to chapter, it’s building anticipation for not only the event, but the arrival of spring, and all the newness and good things that come from that,” she said. “And I think that this campaign just does a really great job of building from early on all the way through the event itself, to get people excited for the return of the Masters, all the traditions we know about, as well as spring itself.”
Rinaldi’s familiarity with and passion for the event is evident.
“I was thrilled and honored to do it,” said Rinaldi, who will conduct player interviews during the telecasts from Augusta as well as report for SportsCenter. “I know that for a lot of people, the event signals more than a golf event. It signals the fact that we’ve made it through winter.
“And even if it’s not particularly warm yet where you’re watching it, when you see the azaleas, and you see the loblolly pines, and you see those emerald miles, it’s that signal, and I think that’s what it’s become to a lot of people,” he said. “The golf is fantastic but the place, I think, has also lodged itself deep into the souls of a lot of sports fans.”