PGA TOUR to Directly Manage Digital Business Beginning in 2013
The PGA TOUR and Turner Sports, who have co-produced the leading website in golf, PGATOUR.com, and all of the PGA TOUR digital products since 2006, jointly announced today that the TOUR will begin directly managing all aspects of its digital business in January 2013. This includes operations, content, product development, marketing and advertising sales.
The PGA TOUR and Turner Sports will continue to work together on the properties through the end of 2012, where there will be a seamless transition to PGA TOUR management by January 1, 2013.
For sales beginning in 2013, each party will sell its own golf properties, with the TOUR representing PGATOUR.com and all TOUR-branded digital products and inventory. All PGA TOUR ad sales will be led by Lee Bushkell, vice president of media sales. Turner Sports will continue to manage operations and oversee ad sales for PGA.com in partnership with the PGA of America, and continue to exclusively sell the Golf section of Yahoo! Sports in partnership with Yahoo!
The timing of this transition coincides with the expiration of the 2006 internet and mobile agreement between the PGA TOUR and Turner Sports, as well as the commencement of the TOUR’s new nine-year television agreements.
“Turner Sports has been an outstanding partner over the past six years and has done a terrific job working with us on our PGA TOUR digital branded properties,” said Paul Johnson, PGA TOUR Senior Vice President of Strategic Development, Digital Media and Entertainment. “Turner understands how to handle premium content brands, and together we have grown and delivered our audience to interested sponsors and advertisers. We greatly appreciate everything Turner has done for our digital business.”
“The PGA TOUR is a great brand and our joint management of its digital business has made it even stronger,” said Matthew Hong, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Operations for Turner Sports. “When we originally created our partnership in 2006, it was an innovative model that leveraged Turner Sports’ early digital expertise and leadership. As both the industry and our long term strategy have evolved, we are now more focused on moving forward in areas that leverage cross-platform assets, including integration with Turner’s leading TV networks, and that will grow our company for the next decade. While we are parting ways at the end of this year, Turner Sports is proud of what we accomplished together with the PGA TOUR and wish them nothing but continued success.”
“With the speed in which the digital landscape is changing, we feel it is important to control all aspects of the business directly,” Johnson added. “This does not reflect upon Turner, which has done a wonderful job and has been a great partner; it is about our overall strategy regarding our fans, players, sponsors and other stakeholders, and our desire to control those elements directly out into the future. In fact, we plan to build on the work that we have done with Turner, and grow our offerings to fans, including more live video, on-demand video, access to statistics, interactivity, new content, platforms and social media interactions. We will continue to place our fan experience as our first priority.”
Together, Turner Sports and the PGA TOUR developed many popular PGATOUR.com features such as Shot Tracker, world-class scoring/leaderboard functionality, as well as PGA TOUR mobile products. PGATOUR.com has continued its growth and golf market-leadership, averaging more than 6 million users per month in 2012. Compared to the same period five years ago, average unique users are up 109 percent. Other PGATOUR properties, including mobile and social products, have grown even faster and add to overall fan engagement.