Topgolf Inks Deal with Vistar to Bring Programmatic to In-House Screens

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As Topgolf looks for new opportunities for revenue generation, the entertainment and events company is moving beyond food, beverage, and playing fees. The global company, which opened its 42nd location this month, has just inked a partnership with the location-based advertising technology firm Vistar Media to more efficiently monetize its network of more than 5,000 in-house screens.

As of today, Topgolf will be working with Vistar to integrate a full ad serving digital signage suite, where inventory will be available through Vistar’s programmatic and digital-out-of-home (DOOH) exchange. Media buyers will be able to place their buys programmatically through private marketplace deals or through Vistar’s ad exchange.

The deal is set to bring a new level of marketing personalization and dynamic content to Topgolf, including scalable support for delivering billions of ad placements per year.

“Topgolf was looking for a programmatic digital solution to better monetize their network. They were hoping to expand their existing sales efforts through introducing programmatic demand, selling on an impression basis, and using data and automation to better optimize their network’s yield,” says David Weinfeld, publisher sales lead at Vistar. “They wanted a solution that aligned with their broad digital focus.”

In addition to utilizing Vistar’s ad serving solution, in combination with the company’s player software, Cortex, to serve advertising on thousands of screens at Topgolf locations, Weinfeld says Topgolf is also leveraging Vistar’s technology stack across thousands of digital displays in venues nationwide. Topgolf’s partnerships team is working with Vistar to traffic all of its direct-sold advertising campaigns, event-specific digital media, and in-venue messaging.

Industry analysts estimate that Topgolf generates between $10 million and $25 million in annual revenue per location, with half of that revenue coming from food and beverage sales. Although the company has been running display advertising on the big-screen televisions inside its venues for years, the company had previously been relying on direct sales—which will still continue—on a spot-in-loop basis. Weinfeld says that Topgolf had been using another CMS provider and a separate online ad server, which limited its full campaign capabilities.

Before the partnership with Topgolf could happen, Vistar had to meet some unique requirements. For example, Topgolf needed a provider with the ability to support different software platforms across the ChromeOS and LG WebOS displays. Given the scale of its network, with the potential to deliver billions of spots on an annual basis, Topgolf also needed a system that could handle and expand that scale support.

“This partnership now exposes Topgolf’s unique inventory to a new pool of digital buyers across the major global holding companies, trading desks and DSPs, and also helps optimize their delivery of advertising,” Weinfeld says. “Topgolf now has the ability for refined delivery capabilities such as unique venue-level targeting, granular minute-of-day controls, and streamlined reporting removing discrepancies between player and ad logs.”

In layman’s terms, that means Topgolf now has the ability to customize advertising messaging according to factors like geography, distance to key points of interest, time of day, time of week, and even weather.

Today’s announcement is the latest in a string of high-profile partnerships for Vistar. In February, the company announced that it would be partnering with the health kiosk company Pursuant Health to connect marketers with more than 30 million shoppers inside physical stores around the country. Working with Topgolf, Vistar now has the opportunity to connect with another 13 million consumers each year.

Weinfeld says Vistar’s full software solutions suite is enabling Topgolf to deliver advertising that responds to unique data sets, which facilitates dynamic creative executions and allows advertisers to target campaigns based on specific audience factors. Like all media owners on the Vistar exchange, Topgolf will retain full creative approval rights, as well as the ability to set category and brand restrictions in advance.

“This allows media owners to open up to the broadest scope of digital buyers that might be interested in purchasing their inventory, while still maintaining a high degree of control,” Weinfeld says.

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.