. The Transom .

Sunday, June 18, 2006

When strategy and bank accounts collide

Watching the U.S. Open today, I was reminded of one of the most confusing marketing decisions in the last few years. Through this year, the PGA Tour has television rights with ESPN, easily the biggest name in sports television. Tournaments would be shown on ESPN for the Thursday-Friday rounds and then switch to the networks for weekend coverage. Made sense.

Starting in 2007 (or '08 - I'm not certain), the Tour signed on for 15 years with The Golf Channel as their television partner. Cable channel to cable channel. Sports channel to all golf channel. Makes sense, right?

Wrong.

One big objective of the PGA Tour, the PGA of America, and the USGA for the last several years has been to grow the game of golf. They wanted to "introduce the game to non-golfers." Someone explain to me how moving away from the most watched sports television network to one focusing exclusively on golfers will introduce non-golfers to the sport. The Golf Channel pulled out their wallet, the PGA Tour threw their grow-the-game strategy out the window, and the sport of golf lost a golden opportunity.

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