PGA TOUR broadcast rights secured over next decade

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September 01, 2011
PGA TOUR staff

By PGA TOUR staff

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem, CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus and NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus announced Thursday the completion of unprecedented broadcast network television agreements that will secure the PGA TOUR's television rights for the next 10 years. With the current deals running through 2012, the new nine-year agreements with CBS and NBC will extend from 2013 through the 2021 season, coinciding with the remaining years of the PGA TOUR's exclusive 15-year cable television agreement with Golf Channel that began in 2007.

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CBS will continue its current broadcast television package, an average of 20 tournaments through the life of the agreements, while NBC will continue to televise an average of 10 events per year.

Highlights of the CBS package include the majority of the popular West Coast Swing; a strong spring and summer schedule; the end of the FedExCup Regular Season including the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational and the play-in event to the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, the Wyndham Championship; and coverage of The Barclays to begin the Playoffs. CBS will maintain more than 130 hours of live weekend coverage per year.

NBC will continue to have a strong first quarter of coverage including two World Golf Championships events -- the Accenture Match Play Championship and Cadillac Championship -- and the Southern Swing; extended coverage of THE PLAYERS Championship in May with limited commercial interruption; and the final three Playoff events: the Deutsche Bank Championship, BMW Championship and the FedExCup season-ending TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. NBC also will continue coverage of the biennial Presidents Cup. In all, NBC will have more than 75 hours of live coverage annually.

Golf Channel will continue to open the PGA TOUR season with four-round coverage of the first three tournaments, provide exclusive early-round coverage of the tournaments televised by CBS and NBC, and provide four-round coverage of alternate events and the Fall Series. In addition, Golf Channel will continue to broadcast prime time replays of its early round coverage, and will have rights to expand its exclusive lead-in coverage and replays for every event televised by CBS and NBC.

Financial terms of the new television deals were not disclosed, as has been the case historically with the PGA TOUR and its network partners. However, Finchem indicated that rights fee increases in this new term will allow the PGA TOUR to grow financial opportunities for players, invest in digital assets for fans globally that will create more one-on-one interactions between players, tournaments and fans and will position the TOUR to allow for increasing charitable contributions.

The new agreements also will provide for innovative coverage on digital platforms and the Golf Channel designed to enhance and expand the viewing experience for PGA TOUR fans. This includes:

• A wide range of simulcast coverage of live tournament action on various PGA TOUR digital platforms starting with PGATOUR.COM, as well as CBSSports.com, NBCSports.com and GolfChannel.com

• Additional digital coverage of a number of tournaments featuring the ability to enjoy coverage from marquee holes, competition highlights and regular news updates from tournament sites; and

• In partnership with NBC and Golf Channel, innovative, new live complementary tournament coverage on Golf Channel, which will air along with NBC's coverage

These innovations, some of which will be implemented in 2012 and all of which will be implemented by 2013, will allow the PGA TOUR to connect with its fans in a much broader and diverse way, potentially doubling the hours of coverage available.

"Over the last five years, the quality of our television partners, CBS, NBC and the Golf Channel, and their performance both in the quality of the product and their performance in the marketplace has been a home run for our players, our tournaments, our sponsors and our charities," Finchem said. "So we are absolutely delighted to announce these new long-term agreements with two terrific broadcast partners in CBS and NBC, which secure our television rights for the next decade. Our partnership with all our broadcast partners will provide continuity for our fans throughout the Regular Season and Playoffs."

"CBS Sports is delighted to continue our long-standing relationship with the PGA TOUR," said McManus. "As we have for more than 50 years, we value our partnership with the TOUR and have tremendous confidence that the TOUR is well-positioned for continued growth and success. This deal continues CBS Sports' goal and strategy to renew our most important marquee properties in a way that is positive for CBS' business interests. The PGA TOUR and its sponsors have been great partners, and we look forward to continuing this partnership for many years to come."

"We are excited to continue our longstanding partnership with the PGA TOUR, as it is an important pillar for NBC Sports and Golf Channel," Lazarus said. "As we embark on another decade of coverage, we are proud to share an innovative vision with the PGA TOUR to utilize our diverse and unique array of assets to engage golf fans and grow the game in new ways."

Finchem cited the impact of several key factors in driving the success of the extensions: the TOUR's compelling mix of bright young talent and established veteran stars, the long-term commitment from the broad base of PGA TOUR sponsors, and the scope and quality of the PGA TOUR fan base and the uniqueness of the fans' appetite level for digital content.

Finchem elaborated by saying, "Our fans' depth of loyalty to our players has created and maintained a very strong cumulative audience with more than 165 million people tuning in to watch so far in 2011. In addition to solid viewership, our fans have taken to the young players while remaining loyal to our established stars. Not only is the fan base broad and loyal with exceptional buying power, it also is uniquely focused on digital applications.

"Our fans, in turn, are key to driving value to the sponsors that underpin our economic model," he added. "Over this economic downturn, not only have our sponsors stayed with the product, but in many cases have chosen to extend well into the future."

Shifting to charity, Finchem said the new agreements provide a 10-year runway that will enhance the PGA TOUR's ability to grow charitable giving. "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.

"As has been the case over the years, and certainly now," Finchem concluded, "our growth is predicated on the unique partnership of athletes with a very positive image, dedicated sponsors, loyal fans and tournaments, all of which are dedicated to helping people. We are delighted with today's announcement and excited for the future of our sport."

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