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Brent Kelley

LPGA, Golf Channel Strike 10-Year Deal

By February 11, 2009

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The Golf Channel is the exclusive cable network of the LPGA Tour under a 10-year broadcast contract agreement announced jointly today by the network and the LPGA. The deal, which starts in 2010, gives the Golf Channel the rights to carry LPGA tournaments thusly:

  • Three- and four-round coverage of domestic events (excepting those few already on network TV).
  • International feeds of LPGA global events.
  • Early round coverage of tournaments that have weekend coverage on broadcast networks (such as the U.S. Women's Open, Kraft Nabisco Championship and a handful of others).
  • Exclusive Solheim Cup coverage.

How much is the LPGA getting for its broadcast rights? That information isn't included in the announcement. But regardless of what the amount is, this is a very big step for the LPGA. Because in the past, the LPGA has usually had to pay the networks, not the other way around.

Major sports leagues sell to network partners the right to broadcast their programming. The networks pay the NFL, for example, to broadcast football games. CBS, NBC and the Golf Channel pay the PGA Tour for its tournaments.

But the LPGA's tournaments, with only a handful of exceptions, have in years past found their way on the air through what are known as "time buys." The time-buy arrangement meant that rather than being paid by a network, the LPGA was the one doing the paying, paying the network to air its programming. The LPGA then attempted to sell advertising time during a broadcast to recoup its investment.

But now, finally, the LPGA has a rights-based television deal in the United States. In fact, the LPGA-Golf Channel announcement notes that "the new agreement establishes the LPGA as the only stand-alone women's professional sports association in the United States to receive a rights fee agreement for domestic broadcast coverage."

This is very good news for the LPGA, and for fans of women's golf.


September 29, 2009 at 12:38 pm
(1) steve says:

now that you do the lpga, when will we be able to watch on tv while the action is going on. not 3 hours after its over, i enjoy watching but not late broadcast, i would think your going to have people watching something else.
i can get scores off computer befor tv watching comes on.

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