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PGA Tour TV Broadcasting Rights

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The PGA Tour is seeking bids for the next wave of TV broadcast rights.  The current deal expires in 2021 so they are opening things up very early based on historical data.  The PGA Tour has made no secret of the fact they want control of a TV channel.

https://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/SB-Blogs/Newsletter-Media/2019/07/29.aspx

https://awfulannouncing.com/golf/pga-tour-to-begin-bid-process-for-rights-deals-all-of-which-are-up-after-2021.html

https://awfulannouncing.com/golf/warnermedia-could-flip-trutv-or-hln-into-a-pga-tour-channel-if-they-win-golf-rights.html

I find it interesting that WarnerMedia is offering one of their current channels (likely TruTV or HLN) to be an exclusive "PGA Tour channel."  NBC has countered with offering the PGA Tour partial ownership of Golf Channel.  It appears possible, maybe even likely, that broadcast golf will be a cable only product with the new TV deal.  That's a shame but all sports will be cable-only products soon.  Too much money involved for over-the-air stations to remain competitive. 

Far too early to predict where this is going but it appears that major change is possible in a couple of years.  

 

 

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Why not make it streaming. Ditch the big brand, and do something special. Like offer all day golf, instead of infomercial’s during the wee hours.

It’s time to cut the cable. Set a trend for once PGA Tour.

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I like option #2 partner with NBC's Golf Channel.  But, it's always about $$$ and that, quite often as not, can be bad for us viewing fans.  The Masters on PPV... gasp, I sure hope not.  ☹️

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12 hours ago, Shankster said:

Why not make it streaming. Ditch the big brand, and do something special. Like offer all day golf, instead of infomercial’s during the wee hours.

It’s time to cut the cable. Set a trend for once PGA Tour.

I agree but the PGA Tour is still managed by a generation that doesn't see the technological future the way younger generations do.  Not to turn this into a generational thing but I do feel that's a big part of the process with the Tour.

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7 hours ago, sixcat said:

I agree but the PGA Tour is still managed by a generation that doesn't see the technological future the way younger generations do.  Not to turn this into a generational thing but I do feel that's a big part of the process with the Tour.

I dont know how true this is. With PGA Tour Live changes this current season, I think they recognize the technology and demand of streaming. 

I hope they dont end up on Tru or HLN. Being on an obscure channel has destroyed hockey tv ratings. Sports content costs is going up but I dont think PGA will get the skyrocketing $$s as Tiger is the only one that moves the needle. 

I think they will find their success by going on a streaming service, improving on the PGA Tour Live coverage with more cameras, views, where you can watch individual golfers (Masters coverage was great). Could easily offer a 24 hour product with enough content with the Euro Tour, Korn Ferry, LPGA, Asia, ect. And partnering with the DFS sites in some capacity to bring in added viewers. 

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1 hour ago, ZJBogey2 said:

I dont know how true this is. With PGA Tour Live changes this current season, I think they recognize the technology and demand of streaming. 

I hope they dont end up on Tru or HLN. Being on an obscure channel has destroyed hockey tv ratings. Sports content costs is going up but I dont think PGA will get the skyrocketing $$s as Tiger is the only one that moves the needle. 

I think they will find their success by going on a streaming service, improving on the PGA Tour Live coverage with more cameras, views, where you can watch individual golfers (Masters coverage was great). Could easily offer a 24 hour product with enough content with the Euro Tour, Korn Ferry, LPGA, Asia, ect. And partnering with the DFS sites in some capacity to bring in added viewers. 

In my opinion, if the PGA Tour cared more about streaming content, they would put a worthwhile effort into it.  The product they have now lags so far behind other sports streaming content, it's not even comparable.  There isn't any reason why the PGA Tour can't have canned tournaments from past years available for streaming on an app. 

The NFL and MLB are setting the bar for streaming service at the moment.  In the case of MLB, I think it's as much out of necessity as anything.  They struggle to compete for TV viewership given games move at a glacial pace and often have so little action.  The NFL is the #1 most watched program on 5 different networks yet, their streaming content is amazing.  A Football Life, NFL, The Timeline and NFL Playbook are better than most shows on TV.

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I was following this on Shackeford's blog, and there seems to be a strong emphasis at Ponte Vedra Beach HQ trying to compare the PGA Tour product to the NFL; or how to get out of the way of the NFL, so as to make the PGA Tour product non-competitive against the NFL product.  One of the reasons mentioned in why the PGA Tour is aggressively pursuing new broadcast contracts is to get out in front of the NFL in their contract renegotiations, which are also coming up for renewal soon as well.  The thinking at the PGA Tour is to get their broadcast deals done before the NFL does their's in order to potentially capture more broadcast revenue out of broadcasters who haven't spent anything on the NFL yet.

The complexities of broadcasting today are rapidly changing, as a record number of subscribers are changing course, away from cable subscriptions, to streaming content and digital.  So the PGA Tour is entertaining a lot of different options that weren't even in existence the last time they signed a contract with a broadcast entity.  And part of the conversation being had right now has to be about who can provide the best content for the most eyeballs, in as many different options available, obviously with the most money coming into the PGA Tour as possible.

But the options aren't so simple as they were even two years ago.  We're entering a stage in broadcast history that is uncharted, and has never been seen before.  I do think that over the air, traditional broadcasting will remain a large part of what the PGA Tour brand wants to have.  Those weekend afternoon broadcasts aren't easily replaced with something else on NBC and CBS.  Live sports programming is still a very lucrative product.  I mean, what else can NBC/CBS show that attracts the most eyes?  Reruns of Gilligans Island?  Honestly, it's the same conversation all professional sports leagues are having with broadcasters.  Because even if the ratings continue to decline for live sports, they are still much more valuable a product then any alternative broadcast option out there.

All that said, like MLB, the NHL, the NBA, and all other pro sports, the leagues own their own content, which is why we have seen NBA TV, MLB Network, NFL Network, etc come into existence.  It's why we have the SEC Network and ACC Network for college sports.  We're likely to see a very similar offering coming from the PGA Tour outside of the Golf Channel, or like has been mentioned above, where the PGA Tour takes at least partial ownership of Golf Channel in some way.  Because honestly, what is the Golf Channel without the PGA Tour?  The PGA Tour, as well as the broadcasters are all asking the same questions, but from different perspectives.  What do we have of value to offer, and what drives the revenue of our product?  Frankly I think the PGA Tour would be wise to remain on Golf Channel, NBC and CBS, in it's current format, and continue to provide additional PPV options via digital and streaming subscription based packages.  Continue to see what offerings the public takes interest in, and where the product can be improved, based on what actually brings in the revenue.

I also think that the PGA Tour would do well to generate a conversation about how to update current broadcasting of golf from out of the 1970's format that we are still stuck with, and use the advances in digital technology, to eliminate dead air during a golf broadcast.  For example, why are we forced to watch players walking down the fairway, or lining up putts, or having conversations with caddies during a pre shot routine?  And why is 75% of air time devoted to the putting green?  You have the technology available to you to show a LOT more golf shots, from a LOT more players.  Good, bad or otherwise.  Frankly what has turned me off from televised golf coverage is all of the dead air time, or times when Matt Kuchar is arguing incessantly with rules officials about why he can't get relief from the divot his ball is in in the middle of the fairway.  How many golf shots took place in the 15 minutes Kuchar wasted of everyone's time on live TV?  Golf coverage doesn't need to be live all of the time.  Heck, if nothing else, you can show Tiger Wood's entire round in about 10 minutes if you wanted to, going shot to shot to shot.  Frankly I think it's long overdue that TV coverage come into the 21st century and embrace the technology and get rid of the Mike Tiricos and Terry Gannons of the world.  Less talking heads, and more golf shots.  Let the viewer make up their own minds on what they want to see with multiple options at their finger tips.

Honestly, I think the Masters, as backwards and stuck in their ways as they are, has the most advanced broadcast coverage going for a golf tournament.  Every year I look forward to going to master.org and finding the Amen Corner channel, and just watching that.  Or having 2 or 3 monitors going with multiple holes and featured groups all at the same time.  The Masters is as forward thinking as anything else currently offered, and it's a real shame that the PGA Tour hasn't taken notes from Augusta National on how to present their product to the general public over a website, or TV broadcast.  Well, it's something anyway.  The PGA Tour can be so much more, with so many more options.  Unfortunately, we're still stuck in 1970 with how they present their product for the most part.

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Agreed completely @GSwag  Change is needed from the old, stale coverage format.  The Masters showed every shot, from every player in the field last year and it was remarkable!  And evidently, not much more costly or difficult to achieve than what they had been doing in years past. 

My wife and I were a bit ahead of the game on cord-cutting.  We did so in late 2011 and haven't looked back.  Since that time, available streaming content has changed so much so, we wonder how we did things in the beginning.  Maybe I'm in the minority but I would like to see more "A Football Life" type content from the PGA Tour.  Golf Channel does some with Payne, Jack, Arnie, and Hogan but it's not enough.  People watch those canned shows over and over.  At least I do!  One series would provide re-airable content for years.

I believe the Tour owning its own broadcasting would allow them to control more of this type of content.  I read somewhere, the wholly owned platform would also allow them to develop a "junior series" to rival the USGA.  Golf Channel is proving, people will watch amateur golf in big numbers with their NCAA coverage.  

We shall see what shakes out.  It's definitely an interesting time in broadcasting.  Over-the-air and cable are no longer the only games in town.

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On 10/3/2019 at 7:53 AM, GSwag said:

Golf coverage doesn't need to be live all of the time. 

That's true but I personally like the slower, more relaxed cadence of traditional golf coverage.  I wouldn't want golf coverage to simply become a fast series of swats and putts.  Listening to the live coverage guys, seeing how rules issues play out, and discussions between players and caddies are of interest to me. 

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