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Sunday, January 15, 2017

FOX, the USGA and the 12-Year Deal

Golf Digest posted a very interesting article by Ron Sirak called TV's $1.1 Billion Problem: Making Sense of Fox and the USGA. I'm giving you this link today because this is an enlightening article about the 12-year broadcast deal between FOX and the USGA and the unexpected problems both have come up against.

Dustin Johnson at the 2016 US Open

Starting in the second paragraph you'll find this:
According to sources familiar with the situation, tensions between the USGA and Fox increased after the network's aggressive handling of rules controversies at the 2016 U.S. Open and the U.S. Women's Open. There was also significant dissatisfaction within the USGA, sources say, over the fact that Fox and its cable arm Fox Sports 1 (FS1) did not take advantage of a West Coast venue for the Women's Open to push the broadcast deep into East Coast prime time, bringing the women's game much-needed exposure.

The USGA and Fox are saying the right things publicly, but they both acknowledge there have been conversations after 2016's major championships to settle differences. And both sides shot down whispers that they wouldn't mind an early end to the deal, which has 10 more years to run.
This very detailed article then goes on to explain the various "situations" that have arisen over the first couple years concerning the deal, which helps you understand why TV golf is such a difficult sell to many of the networks. It also looks at how event streaming may be affecting TV viewership, and how contracts with -- and proven viewership of -- other sports may be affecting golf broadcasts.

I was impressed with how clearly these issues were explained; Ron Sirak did an exceptional job on this piece. It's a post that dedicated golf fans should read, simply so they will be better informed about the issues that efforts to "grow the game" will face going forward, both in terms of who is watching and what other options they may be choosing instead.

And it just may help you appreciate exactly what Arnold Palmer and Joe Gibbs managed to accomplish when they started GC. We are very lucky, folks.

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