CBS, NBC Seal Up PGA Tour Rights Through 2021

CBS and NBC have locked up their respective PGA Tour broadcast rights for the next decade following today’s announcement of new nine-year agreements with the two networks that will commence after the 2012 season. The deals, which both run through the 2021 season, coincide with the remaining term of the PGA Tour’s 15-year cable TV deal with Golf Channel (now part of the NBC Sports Group) that began in 2007.

CBS will continue to broadcast an average of 20 tournaments through the life of the agreements, while NBC will continue to televise an average of 10 events per year. Financial terms of the deals were not disclosed

“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,” PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said at a press conference on Thursday. “Our partnership with all our broadcast partners will provide continuity for our fans throughout the Regular Season and Playoffs.”

The CBS package includes the majority of the West Coast Swing; 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.

“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,” CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus said at the press conference. “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.”

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 Tour Championship. NBC also will continue coverage of the biennial Presidents Cup. In all, NBC will have more than 75 hours of live coverage annually.

“We are excited to continue our longstanding partnership with the PGA Tour, as it is an important pillar for NBC Sports and Golf Channel,” said NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus. “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.”

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.

Although financials were not made public, Finchem indicated that rights fee increases in this new term will allow the PGA Tour to grow player purses, invest in digital assets, increase charitable contributions.

The new agreements also include digital rights for CBS and NBC. A wide range of live simulcast coverage will be available on PGATour.COM, as well as, and Several tournaments will also have coverage of marquee holes, competition highlights, and regular news updates from tournament sites.

NBC and Golf Channel will also produce shoulder programming on Golf Channel to complement NBC’s live tournament coverage.

Some of these digital platform and Golf Channel items will be implemented in 2012 and all of which will be implemented by 2013.

“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,” said Finchem. “Not only is the fan base broad and loyal with exceptional buying power, it also is uniquely focused on digital applications.

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