ORLANDO, Fla. – Golf Channel Japan and Japan’s Golf Network, competitors in the Japanese television market for 15 years, announced a long-term, strategic partnership that will combine assets from both networks to create one, co-branded channel to serve golf fans in Japan. The announcement was made Monday at a Tokyo news conference by Golf Channel president Mike McCarley and Golf Network president Masashi Ishii.
Golf Channel programming is seen in more than 120 million homes in 78 countries worldwide. Since its launch as a 24-hour network in Japan in 1996, Golf Channel has competed with the Golf Network. Now as partners, the combined network will launch on April 1, 2012 and 7.2 million homes will have access. With approximately 12 million golfers, Japan ranks second to the United States as the largest golf market in the world.
“This new partnership has been 15 years in the making and the fans of golf in Japan are the beneficiaries,' McCarley said. 'The overwhelmingly positive support we have received from the golf community around the globe in putting this agreementtogether has made this a strong relationship that will serve the millions of Japanese golfers for years to come.'
Said Ishii: “We are very excited to team up with the greatest golf-dedicated channel in theworld. Combining Golf Channel’s highly acclaimed programs with our programs will result in a great expansion, providing Japanese golf fans a value-added service.'
When launched, the combined network will have additional rights to televise coverage of all the world’s major golf tours, including the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, as well as men’s and women’s major championships, including the U.S. Open, Open Championship, PGA Championship, U.S. Women’s Open and Women’s British Open.
Golf Channel’s signature news shows like “Golf Central” and “Live From,” which will be localized on a live or near-live basis for Japanese viewers will be part of the programming lineup, as will shows like “Top 10,” “The Golf Fix” and “School of Golf.” The shows will continue to be produced by Golf Channel’s Japanese Production and commentating teams at Golf Channel headquarters in Orlando, Fla.