PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem announced
Thursday that the PGA has renewed their broadcast deals, keeping the sport on
CBS and NBC through 2021.
The nine-year extension coincides with the remaining years of the PGA's 15-year
deal with Golf Channel that began in 2007. The current deal was set to expire
"[CBS and NBC] have become exceptional partners in all areas," said Finchem.
CBS, which will continue to air 20 events per year, retains the popular West
Coast Swing, the World Golf Championships' Bridgestone Invitational, the
Wyndham Championship and The Barclays, which open the FedEx Cup Playoffs. CBS
will maintain more than 130 hours of live weekend coverage per year.
CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus commented that the length, as well as CBS'
longstanding partnership with the PGA, were two important factors in getting
the deal done. He also lauded network television as an "important component" of
sports coverage. "The broadcast partners are also an important part of the
equation," said McManus, "not just attracting sponsors, but keeping those
sponsors on long-term deals."
NBC continues its slate of ten events per year, with more than 75 hours of live
coverage annually. The network retains its rights to the Accenture Match
Play Championship, Cadillac Championship, Players Championship and the final
three events playoff events (Deutsche Bank, BMW and Tour Championship). The
biennial President's Cup will also continue to reside on NBC.
"The PGA Tour and the game of golf are very important to our company and our
overall business model," said Mark Lazarus, chair of NBC Sports Group, who took
over from Dick Ebersol shortly before negotiations began. "This deal for us is
an intelligent use of our wide array of assets."
NBCU-owned Golf Channel, along with the cable-broadcast rights of its current
deal, will now feature live complementary tournament coverage that will air
alongside NBC's. Finchem explained that the Golf Channel's commentary will
focus on more unique aspects such as certain pairings and individual holes.
The new agreement expands the Tour's coverage on digital platforms, featuring
simulcasts of live action on PGATour.com, CBSSports.com, NBCSports.com and
GolfChannel.com (which will extend to mobile devices and tablets), coverage of
marquee holes, highlights and regular live updates from the tournament sites.
"We believe we will set the new standard in sports media" said Lazarus.
Finchem was bullish in his sport's popularity -- he said that 165 million viewers
tuned in this year -- arguing that the influx of younger players will help
offset the struggles of top golfer Tiger Woods, whose success had always been a
major ratings pull. "There is such tremendous buzz and focus on this
juxtaposition of Tiger and Phil [Mickelson] and other veteran players against
this huge increase of young players who are coming forward and are able to win
tournaments," he said.
While Finchem did not comment on the financial terms, he did remark that the
rights fees increase in the new deal; both McManus and Lazarus commented that
the new deal remains profitable for them.
Finchem said that the Tour's charitable aspirations played a role in the length
of the new deal "We can now with confidence expect to reach $2 billion in
all-time charitable contributions by 2014, and conceivably reach $3 billion by
the end of the term," he said.
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