Gibbs, who formed the company in November 1991 and subsequently partnered with golf legend Arnold Palmer to launch the network in January 1995, informed his staff at a meeting of Golf Channel employees.
Conceiving and building The Golf Channel ' along with 300 very talented people ' has filled 10 years of my life with some of the greatest memories anyone could have, said Gibbs. Having Arnold Palmer as your partner, building more than $1 billion of equity for our stockholders, meeting untold business people, tour players and officials; and having thousands of people thanking you for the work that you do has been beyond the dream.
Under the leadership of Gibbs, The Golf Channel has redefined the term niche among cable networks. The network has realized steady growth despite doubts of its viability among many industry insiders. Currently, The Golf Channel boasts a loyal audience, which comprises the highest percentage of upscale homes among all cable networks, according to Nielsen Media Research and MRI.* The Golf Channel recently signed long-term agreements with cables top multiple system operators and is expected to end 2001 with more than 45 million subscribers.
Gibbs noted his pride of having achieved all business goals he set out for the network. The network broke even within four years of operation, which is two years ahead of the industry average among cable networks and boasts profitability ranked within the top-5 all-time in the history of cable.
The golf world is a wonderful world and I appreciate being a small part of it, and hope to be able to continue to be part of it in the future, Gibbs said. There are so many to thank who helped make this dream a success and Ill look forward to watching as the channel continues to grow even bigger and better from year to year.
Although away from The Golf Channel, Gibbs will remain in Orlando. He has recently set up office space and formed his own venture capital company called Gibbs Investments L.L.C.
Succeeding Gibbs in the role of president will be David Manougian, who currently serves as the networks chief operating officer. Manougian, the fourteenth employee hired by The Golf Channel, has played a major role in the networks growth and has been integrally involved in all major facets of the companys business over the years.
A lot of credit goes to David for the various Golf Channel successes since our launch, Gibbs said. Hes already been a big part of this company in many ways and Im confident hell do a great job going forward.
* Nielsen Media Research CNAD 1Q 2001; MB HH Dist % $75,000+; Mon-Sun Total Day and Mediamark Research Inc. Spring 2001; % of Total Household Income $75,000+. Subject to qualifications available upon request.