Golf Channel Big Winner for 07 PGA Tour Deal


ORLANDO, Fla. -- Speculation ended today when PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem announced that The Golf Channel will become the exclusive cable television home for the PGA Tour's official money events beginning in 2007. The exclusive deal is not only unprecedented in golf, but also will make the 24-hour golf network the Tour's biggest television partner.
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.
David Manougian
Golf Channel President David Manougian.
Through the 15-year agreement, both the PGA Tour and The Golf Channel are looking forward to creating a new golf television landscape, just as the cable network did when it launched in January 1995. Given The Golf Channels core golf audience and ever-growing number of new viewers, developing a long-term, strategic partnership with the Tour makes sense for both parties, said David Manougian, president of The Golf Channel. Golf fans worldwide know us as Golfs Home, and we are looking forward to showcasing the excitement and drama the Tour can deliver to our viewers week after week. Coupled with our exclusive commitments to the Nationwide Tour, Champions Tour and European Tour, and a generous schedule of LPGA Tour and other top competition from around the world, The Golf Channel will reinforce its strength as the best destination for golf on TV.
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.
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