PGA Tour To Launch ‘Skratch’ Digital Network With Eye on Next Generation of Golfers

With an eye on the estimated 6.2 million golfers between the ages of 18 and 34, the PGA Tour and Bedrocket plan to launch a joint-venture digital video network. Skratch TV will feature daily golf video comprising original and curated programming, PGA Tour highlights, and special production from events.

The PGA Tour’s official announcement dubbed it “a digital platform for a golf-hungry community of creators, celebrities, pro athletes, and fans, Skratch TV will deliver custom content in a voice honed for the age of social networks.” Despite rampant interest in the sport among millennials, the PGA Tour’s viewer demographics consistently skew far older than the other major U.S. sports leagues’ — a trend Skratch TV is aimed at correcting.

“As younger fans find new ways to follow their favorite sports, it’s important to deliver great golf content to platforms that they use and in a voice that resonates with them,” says PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem. “We believe Skratch TV will provide a tremendous new platform to effectively speak to this audience.”

Bedrocket Drives the Digital Green
The digital network will be overseen by the same management team that created and operates the Network A action-sports network and built and launched YouTube soccer destination KickTV for Major League Soccer. The Skratch operation will be located at Bedrocket’s New York offices.

“We couldn’t imagine a better partner than Bedrocket to help us build Skratch TV and reach a millennial audience,” says Rick Anderson, EVP, global media, PGA Tour. “[Bedrocket CEO/founder] Brian Bedol and his team have created incredibly successful sports properties for both television and digital platforms and understand how to build digital-media brands better than anyone else in the industry.”

Skratch TV will be overseen by Lee Bushkell as GM; Stefan Van Engen, EVP, media properties, Bedrocket; and Aaron Spielberg as director of programming. Bushkell’s prior roles at the PGA Tour include VP/GM of PGA Tour Digital and VP, digital media sales. Van Engen oversaw Bedrocket’s launch of Kick TV, in partnership with Major League Soccer, and Network A. Spielberg was managing producer of original content at Major League Baseball.

Skratch TV will be built on Bedrocket’s proprietary premium-video-channel platform Boxxspring, enabling immediate access to an audience of tens of millions of mobile, desktop, and social-video consumers.

Skratch recently launched a social-platform beta, in conjunction with the Waste Management Phoenix Open and the Farmers Insurance Open. Delivered natively across Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Vine, and YouTube, the preview was bolstered by rich cooperation with GoPro, Callaway, and Farmers and featured top pros Rickie Fowler, Ryan Palmer, Patrick Reed, Keegan Bradley, and others.

Skratch TV will reportedly include content captured by next-gen production tools like GoPro POV cameras outfitted on golfers at pro-am tournaments and aerial-drone camera systems. Check out a preview of what to expect from Scratch TV posted here on Facebook.

“We’re thrilled to partner with the PGA Tour to build a first-of-its-kind media property targeting the millions of young golfers and fans who love the game — not to mention many of the most influential celebrities and athletes in the world,” says Bedol. “It’s time this audience had its own place.”

Engaging the Next Generation of U.S. Golfers
The National Golf Foundation estimates 6.2 million 18-34 golfers in the U.S. — a quarter of all U.S. golfers. These avid golfers play approximately 100 million rounds and spend more than $5 billion on the sport annually. In addition, more than 12 million more non-golfing millennials are “very or somewhat interested” in the sport.

However, the PGA Tour has failed to capitalize on this interest thus far: only 20.2% of the tour’s television viewers are millennials (born between 1977 and 1994), and the mean age of the PGA Tour viewer is 52.3. Both numbers ranked last behind the NBA, MLB, NFL, and NASCAR in media-research outfit GfK MRI’s 2014 Doublebase survey (cited by The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir)

According to the PGA Tour announcement, Skratch will package the sport for the “mobile-savvy, always on, rapid-fire–content consumer. Short-attention-span golf in a voice that echoes its users’ — whip-smart, funny, and a little bit brash.”

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