In the new contract, 48 PGA Tour events per year will be televised by The Golf Channel, giving the cable network a lions share of the television coverage and the entire cable package.
The Golf Channels annual coverage will feature early-round coverage of the entire FedEx Cup season, including the World Golf Championships, The Tour Championship ' the official end of the points season that will determine the FedEx Cup winner and provide what is expected to be sports largest payoff ' and The Players Championship, the PGA Tours crown jewel. Early round coverage also will include several popular late-season tournaments, including the Target World Challenge, Shark Shootout and a WGC event scheduled to take place in China. In total, early-round coverage of 33 events will air on The Golf Channel.
Also included in the package will be 15 full, four-round events beginning with the seasons first three tournaments ' Mercedes Championships, Sony Open in Hawaii and Bob Hope Chrysler Classic ' and the seven official money events following The Tour Championship. The network also will provide full coverage of the five tournaments played opposite golfs majors and World Golf Championships.
Adding a very significant PGA Tour role for The Golf Channel further solidifies the presentation of our sport to the fans, Finchem said. The Golf Channel has developed at a tremendous rate over only a decade. This agreement provides us the opportunity to work together with The Golf Channel to fully inform our fans about our players, tournaments, sponsors and charity. We are delighted with the commitment they are making to significant production and promotional enhancements in the years to come.
These new agreements represent a huge step forward for The Golf Channel, and offer fans of PGA Tour golf a consistent and quality home for a very significant amount of programming, said Brian Roberts, Chairman and CEO of Comcast Corporation. The Golf Channel has had a great first 11 years, and this dynamic new long-term relationship will take it to the next level in the years to come. We look forward with significant enthusiasm to our expanded PGA Tour partnership.
The new agreement further strengthens the long-standing partnership the PGA Tour has with The Golf Channel, which will continue to be the exclusive television home for the Nationwide Tour and Champions Tour.
Under the leadership of Manougian, The Golf Channel has become the gold standard of niche networks. Domestic distribution has increased by more than 89 percent and begins 2006 reaching into nearly 70 million homes. And through its international ventures, the network reaches 90 percent of the worlds golfers. From a niche cable start-up in 1995 that many industry pundits didnt give a chance to survive, conversely, The Golf Channel has thrived ' a fact the PGA Tour and its tournament sponsors fully understood when the new deal was made. It has been just 11 years since co-founder Arnold Palmer flipped the switch that delivered The Golf Channel to a golf-hungry television audience ' and cable had its first truly niche network.