History of GOLF CHANNEL
In early 1990, cable-entrepreneur Joseph E. Gibbs began his quest to launch a 24-hour golf network. As fate would have it, that same year Gibbs opened up his Birmingham, Ala., home to host one of the pros playing in the PGA Championship. That pro was none other than The King himself, Arnold Palmer. An immediate friendship developed between the two and that bond sparked the idea that became the GOLF CHANNEL.
“Getting to know Arnold was when I realized how great this game of golf really is,” Gibbs said. “Walking with Arnold on the golf course, I saw how much the people loved him and loved being around him. That impressed and overwhelmed me.”
Gibbs, who already had built three successful cable and communication companies, had the business experience to launch a network. But Gibbs knew his inexperience in golf and the lack of connections within the golf industry would hamper his ability to get his idea off the ground. Arnold would prove to be the key!
In February ’93, Gibbs and Palmer publicly announced their plans to launch GOLF CHANNEL at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. They began raising capital through multiple sources including six of the country’s leading cable operators. The cable operator investment not only infused necessary capital to keep the business going, it brought with it one of the most important keys to a fledgling cable network’s success – distribution.
GOLF CHANNEL was launched on January 17, 1995, and was the first fully digital production facility in the United States. GOLF CHANNEL recruited an experienced management team, an expert lineup of broadcasters and developed a varied programming schedule. In its first year, GOLF CHANNEL televised 23 domestic tournaments and 41 European and Australian events.
Since then, the network has been the gold standard for other niche cable start-ups and has become golf's home on television. GOLF CHANNEL programming is available in more than 120 million homes in 83 countries and in 12 languages worldwide through cable, satellite and wireless companies.
In 1996, GolfChannel.com was launched and has grown to become the #1 golf site on the Internet. As a one-stop portal for all things golf, not only is GolfChannel.com the destination for the latest news and scores, but also a place to find services to help the recreational golfer enjoy golf more and improve his/her game. GolfChannel.com also is helping to grow the game of golf overall through platforms like facilitating online tee times, video instruction, event participation through the GOLF CHANNEL Amateur Tour and travel through its various sites offering golf services around the world.
In 2007, GOLF CHANNEL embarked on its unprecedented 15-year agreement as the exclusive cable television home for the PGA Tour. GOLF CHANNEL is in partnership with PGA Tour featuring complete coverage of the season's opening Mercedes Championship, the Sony Open, the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, and early-round coverage of the remaining FedExCup season, including the World Golf Championships, The Tour Championship and THE Players Championship, the PGA TOUR’s crown jewel. In total, GOLF CHANNEL provides coverage of 47 PGA TOUR events. Additionally, beginning in 2010, the network and the Nationwide Tour, Canadian Tour, and cable home of theLeaderboards: Pga | Lpga | Champions Tourther competition from the USGA and PGA of America.
The network was honored in 2008 with its first Emmy Award for its virtual, putting-line technology – called AimPoint – which is showcased during GOLF CHANNEL’s coverage of some of the world’s top golfing events on the PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour.
In addition to being the leader in golf tournament coverage, GOLF CHANNEL is the home of innovative, insightful and entertaining programming, including news, instruction and original specials and series – like the award-winning Big Break, The Haney Project and Golf in America.
GOLF CHANNEL is part of the Comcast Programming Group which also includes E! Entertainment Television, Style Network, VERSUS, G4, PBS KIDS Sprout, TV One and ten Comcast SportsNet networks. Comcast Corporation serves more than 24 million cable customers and 100,000 employees nationwide..
Golf Channel Executives