Good news for fans, players, sponsors, broadcast networks and pretty much everybody else involved with the business of televised golf: we have us a new rights agreement that ensures golf's broadcasting omnipresence through the 2021 season.
The PGA Tour announced the monstrous, ten-year agreement on Thursday, largely keeping in place the existing broadcast rotation but significantly expanding the digital platforms upon which you'll be able to view golf. If you've enjoyed sneaking views of the action during the Masters or other majors, you're going to love this: before long, you'll be able to destroy two full days' worth of productivity a week with streaming golf.
Here's the rough breakdown: CBS will take about 20 tournaments, and NBC about 10. CBS will handle spring, summer and the first round of the FedEx Cup. NBC will take the early-season events, The Players Championship and the final three FedEx Cup events, as well as the Presidents Cup. Golf Channel will take the year's first three tournaments and selected others, plus early-round coverage of the ones handled by CBS and NBC. (The majors, of course, are not included in any PGA Tour broadcast package.)
The Tour's broadcast prospects had been an issue of looming concern in recent years, particularly because of the sudden, rapid decline of the Tour's most valuable asset (that would be Tiger Woods) and concern that the homegrown on-course product paled in comparison to an ever-more-powerful European Tour. But clearly golf remains an attractive option -- its fans are among the most economically sound and highest-spending in sports, so pat yourselves on the wallets, golf fans -- and the increased digital presence gives sponsors even more opportunities to reach viewers who otherwise would be, you know, doing actual work.
The Tour did not disclose financial terms of the agreement, but did indicate that the rights fees did increase, allowing the growth of digital opportunities (good), the extension of charitable giving (also good) and an improvement to player purses (very good, because those guys were going to starve without this).
No word on whether certain announcers would be excluded as part of the agreement, which is a shame. But overall, very good news for all of us. Celebrate by watching some golf on TV this weekend, friends!