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Golf and NBC Play Partners

While the players go head to head at the
World Golf Championships–Accenture Match Play Championships
in Marana, Ariz., this week, Golf Channel and NBC
Sports will be working side by side.

The networks, now
paired under NBC
Sports Group as part
of Comcast’s NBC
Universal joint venture
that was finalized
last month, will
team up as playing
partners with the 64-man tournament,
running from Feb.
23-27, on graphics,
promotion, production
and on-air talent.

“One of the greatest
attributes of
NBCU is its culture
of collaboration. We
want to use promotional
and talent to help
grow Golf Channel,”
said network president
Mike McCarley.
He noted the
WGC event marks
the first time NBC
Sports Group is truly
marshaling myriad
assets on and off
the air to emphasize
the cable network
and the rebranding
of PGA Tour telecasts
as “Golf Channel on

“Beginning with Arnold Palmer and Joe Gibbs 16 years
ago, Golf Channel has built a strong brand by covering the
sport with passion and authenticity, which made re-branding
all NBC Sports golf coverage as ‘Golf Channel on NBC’ an
easy decision,” said NBC Sports Group chairman Dick Ebersol.
“Our plan is to grow Golf Channel by exposing it to new
viewers through the broad reach of the network and the unprecedented
cross-promotional power of NBC Universal.”

Since the closing of the JV transaction on Jan. 28, the
channel has been running five-second IDs alerting, “You’re
watching the Golf Channel, now powered by NBC Sports,”
and has incorporated CNBC business reports into the network’s
Morning Drive show. Moreover, the WGC event is
benefiting from NBCU cross-channel prioritization, which
began last weekend and will continue with promos and
banners across 20 NBCU networks and 40 attendant websites,
through tourney’s end.

Those synergies aside, the WGC tourney will reflect the
start of much larger connections. Golf has Wednesday to
Friday coverage of the match-play action, but will step onto
the weekend course for first time, leading into NBC’s eight
hours on Saturday and Sunday.

McCarley said that will become a staple of Golf’s scheduling
during the balance of NBC’s tour coverage in 2011,
including the next six weeks withy the sport’s “southern
swing,” and beyond. The cable network will also encore
NBC’s WGC coverage in primetime on the weekend.

NBC’s Emmy Award-winning producer Tommy Roy will
helm all five rounds on both networks.

The broadcaster’s weekend airings will be the first to sport
the “Golf Channel on NBC” appellation and graphics package,
with the broadcaster adopting Golf’s signature blue-andsilver
coloring and incorporating the cable channel’s “G” and
NBC’s famed Peacock
on the leader board
and other elements.
The morphing of
NBC on Golf will also
manifest with the onair
talent sporting the
“G” over the heart on
their shirts and caps,
while the Peacock
is perched on the
sleeve, according to

Perhaps the biggest
showcase for
the nets’ expanded
field will come via a
Golf Central special
at 8:30 p.m. on Friday
Feb. 25. State of
the Game Live
showcase NBC’s Dan
Hicks, Johnny Miller
and Roger Maltbie
discussing the sport
with Golf’s Brandel
Chamblee, Frank
Nobilo and Nick Faldo.
The group will
dissect the WGC action,
the status of one
Eldrick Woods, the
emergence of European
stars and their impact
on the PGA Tour,
among other topics.

“This is a unique golf-television event that for the first
time brings together the two premiere voices in the game
… Johnny Miller, who I have had a special relationship
with for many years, and Nick Faldo,” said Ebersol. “Our
goal is to utilize our combined assets for more events
such as this in the future.”

Asked whether Golf talent will appear on NBC’s PGA
telecasts, McCarley replied: “We’re trying to use Golf’s
talent in as many ways as possible. Ultimately, the goal
is to use the talent in multiple ways on both channels in
any time slot.”