Former Senior Director of NBA Digital for Turner Sports to lead new era for PGA of America’s consumer-facing digital offerings
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (Oct. 15, 2019) – Rob Smith has been named General Manager for PGA Interactive, which includes an all-new PGA.com, along with the websites and apps that support the major Championships run by the PGA of America.
As GM, Smith will oversee all operations of the Interactive business, which is being reimagined to serve as the destination to support a player’s golfing journey, by connecting them to PGA Professionals. In this newly created position, Smith will report to PGA of America Chief Commercial Officer Jeff Price.
Smith previously served as a Senior Director of Business Strategy and Operations for NBA Digital at WarnerMedia News & Sports (formerly Turner Sports) in Atlanta. At WarnerMedia, he also worked in various product development and management roles for CNN.com and PGA.com.
Meanwhile, PGA.com, which has been under the day-to-day management of Turner Sports since 2003, will migrate to the newly created in-house platform within the PGA of America by the end of the year. In addition, NBCU/Golf Channel will produce the PGA’s Championship sites, along with rydercup.com.
The new PGA.com will be focused on creating multiple marketplaces connecting golfers with PGA Professionals, beginning with an emphasis on the coaching space. The under-construction, multi-sided platform will better enable coaching relationships for golfers throughout their golf journey, while enhancing the business value of coaching for PGA Members and their employers.
This will elevate the PGA Professional and their facilities within the coaching community; set the foundation for future player interactions and broader integration; and create a “marketplace of marketplaces” to drive consumer engagement and revenue for PGA Professionals. PGA.com will also provide access to next-generation, cost-effective business management and instruction aids for PGA Coaches.
Smith’s responsibilities include driving marketplace and platform strategy; business and financial planning; and partnership development. This encompasses stakeholder management, leadership, teamwork, creating a unique digital venture and the development of the site’s commercial model. He will also oversee the integration of digital assets for the PGA of America’s Championships with NBC Universal and Golf Channel.
“Rob Smith’s expertise in producing best-in-class digital products makes him the right person to develop and drive a new and robust platform for PGA.com that offers a premium user-experience, with special access to top PGA Coaches,” said Price.
PGA.com provides a complete look at the world of golf—everything from equipment to courses, top instruction to golf travel tips. The site uses the expertise of the nearly 29,000 Professionals of the PGA of America to help consumers enjoy the game more.
“Through the PGA of America’s footprint of PGA Professionals, the next chapter of PGA.comwill deliver a must-have experience that drives and significantly enhances a golfer’s journey,” said Smith. “The network of services created in collaboration with PGA Members will benefit both the golfer and Professional alike, and ultimately grow and improve the game for us all.”
Throughout his career, Smith has created award-winning digital experiences for consumers and fans, while operating and growing healthy and successful business models. He spent eight years at WarnerMedia, most recently focusing on Turner’s NBA relationship in business strategy and operations, while overseeing day-to-day and large-scale initiatives in partnership with the NBA—including business development, content licensing, sales, distribution and audience development.
Smith previously supported the PGA’s partnership with Turner, primarily in the operation of digital rights. Among his successes, he led the reinvention of many aspects of PGA event coverage, such as the 2016 Ryder Cup digital suite of products and services for fans, which set all-time records for Turner’s digital golf coverage and was nominated for a sports Emmy.
Smith started his Turner career at CNN and led the coverage of the 2012 Presidential campaign across the network’s digital brands and products. He helped lead the successful progression of storytelling throughout the entire 18-month election cycle, and also landed major partnerships for CNN’s television and digital coverage.
Before WarnerMedia, Smith spent five years at Moxie Interactive as an account and project director for Verizon Wireless’s device and e-commerce platforms. The digital ad agency covered all aspects of VZW’s major digital marketing initiatives, including media planning, media buying, interactive development, e-commerce transactions and digital strategy.
Smith holds a B.S. in Management Information Systems from Pennsylvania State University; and an MBA in Information Technology from the University of Delaware.