Golf Channel signs 10-year agreement with LPGA

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LPGA Tour _newKAHUKU, Hawaii ' Golf Channel and the LPGA have agreed to a 10-year partnership that will make the network the exclusive cable home of the tour beginning in 2010. The new agreement establishes the LPGA as the only womens professional sports association in the U.S. to receive a rights fee agreement for domestic broadcast coverage.
 
The joint announcement was made Wednesday by LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens and Golf Channel president Page Thompson at the season-opening SBS Open at Turtle Bay in Hawaii.
 
'We are big believers in the LPGA Tour and its talented, charismatic players, and look forward to working with the Tour to continue to grow its brand in the coming years, Thompson said.
 
The new agreement further strengthens the long-standing partnership Golf Channel has with the LPGA. Over the past 14 years, the network has televised a minimum of 10 events per year, which has included exclusive coverage of the Solheim Cup since 2005 and McDonalds LPGA Championship since 2006. The LPGA HealthSouth Disney Classic was the first domestic golf tournament televised by the network soon after launch in 1995.
 
As part of the new agreement, nearly all LPGA events televised in the U.S. will be carried by Golf Channel.
 
Golf Channel will carry three- and four-round coverage of domestic events, including one major championship, and international feeds of LPGA global events, as well as early round coverage of events that will have weekend coverage on other networks. The network also will continue with exclusive rights to the biennial Solheim Cup, pitting the U.S. against Europe.
 
We are excited to announce this historic partnership with the Golf Channel that will, for the first time, provide the LPGA with an exclusive cable partner, Bivens said. Our long-term goal has been to establish a consistent platform for LPGA viewership, improve the production quality of our telecasts and enhance the season-long promotion of our players and events. We were able to achieve this through our partnership with the Golf Channel.
 
This year Golf Channel will televise 12 LPGA events, in addition to the McDonalds LPGA Championship (June 11-14) and the Solheim Cup (Aug. 21-23), from Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill.