|Broadcast area||United States|
|Picture format|| 1080i HDTV |
(downscaled to letterboxed 480i for the SDTV feed)
|Owner||NBC Sports Group|
|Parent|| NBCUniversal |
|Sister channels|| NBC |
NBC Sports Regional Networks
|Launched||January 17, 1995|
|Former names||The Golf Channel|
|Available on most North American cable systems||Channel slots vary on each operator|
|Dish Network||Channel 401|
|Shaw Direct (Canada)||Channel 409 (SD)|
Channel 266 (HD)
|AT&T U-verse||Channel 641 (SD)|
Channel 1641 (HD)
|Verizon FiOS||Channel 93 (SD)|
Channel 593 (HD)
|Bell Fibe TV (Canada)||Channel 416 (SD)|
Channel 1415 (HD)
|TELUS TV (Canada)||Channel 116 (SD)|
Channel 668 (HD)
Channel 656 (3D)
|VMedia (Canada)||Channel 76 (HD)|
|Sling TV, AT&T TV Now, YouTube TV, Fubo TV, Hulu with Live TV|
Golf Channel (also verbally referred to as simply Golf) is an American sports television network owned by the NBC Sports Group division of NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast. Founded in Birmingham, Alabama,it is currently based out of NBC Sports' headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut.
The channel focuses on coverage of the sport of golf, including live coverage of tournaments, as well as factual and instructional programming. It is the cable television rightsholder of the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, U.S. Open, The Open Championship, and golf at the Summer Olympics. Via the Golf Channel unit, Comcast also owns other golf-related businesses, including the course reservation service GolfNow, online golf instruction provider Revolution Golf, and the World Long Drive Championship. Some of these associated properties operate from the network's former home of Orlando, Florida.
As of September 2018, Golf Channel is available to approximately 70.3 million pay television households (76.2% of households with cable) in the United States.
The idea of a 24-hour golf network came from media entrepreneur Joseph E. Gibbs of Birmingham, Alabama,who first thought of such a concept in 1991. Gibbs felt there was enough interest in golf among the public to support such a network, and commissioned a Gallup Poll to see if his instincts were correct. With the support of the polling behind him, Gibbs and legendary golfer Arnold Palmer then secured $80 million in financing from several cable television providers (including Adelphia Communications Corporation, Cablevision Industries, Comcast, Continental Cablevision, Newhouse, and the Times Mirror Company) to launch the network, which was among the first subscription networks developed to cover one singular sport.
Announced in February 1993,the launch date was targeted for May 1994; and it was launched on January 17, 1995, with a ceremonial flip of the switch by co-founder Arnold Palmer. The first live tournament the channel televised was the Dubai Desert Classic, held January 19–22. Originally a premium channel with limited subscribers, it retooled in September 1995 to be part of basic-tier pay TV to reach more viewers and ratings rapidly increased. In 1996, Fox Cable Networks acquired a minority stake in the channel for $50 million.
From 1999 to 2001, Golf Channel would hold part of the PGA Tour's cable rights for early-round coverage. To boost their availability, Golf Channel reached an agreement with Fox Sports Networks (FSN) to air simulcasts of the coverage. In 2002, Golf Channel lost its rights to the main PGA Tour, but gained rights to the developmental Buy.com Tour.
In 2001, Fox sold its 30.9% stake in Golf Channel, as well as its stake in Outdoor Life Network, to minority owner Comcast, as part of a larger transaction by Fox to acquire Comcast's stake in Speedvision.In December 2003, Comcast acquired the remaining 8.6% stake of Golf Channel it did not already own from the Tribune Company, giving it full ownership.
In January 2007, Golf Channel became the exclusive cable broadcaster of the PGA Tour as part of a new 15-year contract, replacing ESPN and USA Network. The contract included early-round coverage of all official money events, and 13 events per-season carried exclusively by the network. By then, Golf Channel had carriage in 75 million homes.
Concurrently, Comcast also launched Versus/Golf HD, a 1080i high definition channel featuring programming from Golf Channel and sister network Versus. Golf Channel programming was broadcast during the daytime hours, and Versus programming was broadcast during the evening and primetime hours. This arrangement ended in December 2008, when both networks launched their own 24-hour high-definition simulcasts.
In March 2008, Comcast acquired the online golf reservation platform GolfNow. It was re-located to Golf Channel's headquarters in Orlando.
In January 2011, Comcast acquired a 51% majority stake in NBC Universal from General Electric. As a result of the re-alignment of Comcast's existing properties into NBC Universal, Golf Channel and sister sports network Versus were subsumed by a restructured NBC Sports division. On-air synergies between NBC's existing production unit began to take effect in February 2011 at the WGC Match Play Championship, when NBC's golf telecasts took on the Golf Channel branding as "Golf Channel on NBC", in a similar manner to ESPN's co-branding of sports output on ABC. NBC Sports personalities could now appear on Golf Channel, and former NBC Sports senior vice president Mike McCarley took over as the network's new head. The network also adopted an amended logo featuring the NBC peacock.
In December 2013, Golf Channel unveiled a new logo, implemented in May 2014 to coincide with the 2014 Players Championship. The new logo replaces the "swinging G" emblem that had been used since the network's launch with a wordmark alongside the NBC peacock. The new logo was meant to provide a unified brand across Golf Channel's associated properties and services.
On June 8, 2015, it was announced that NBC Sports had acquired rights to The Open Championship beginning in 2017 under a 12-year deal;after former broadcaster ESPN opted out of the final year of rights, NBC began coverage in 2016 instead. Early round coverage is aired by Golf Channel, which marked the first time ever that Golf Channel had ever broadcast one of the four Men's major golf championships. On May 3, 2016, NBC announced that Golf Channel would air the bulk of the men's and women's golf tournaments for the 2016 Summer Olympics, covering up to 300 hours of the tourney, with 130 of those hours live.
In 2016, Golf Channel acquired the World Long Drivers Association, organizer of the World Long Drive Championships; coverage of its events were subsequently added to the network.In 2017, Golf Channel acquired Revolution Golf, an online provider of golf instructional materials.
Before the final round of the 2018 Sony Open in Hawaii tournament, Golf Channel production staged a walkout.
In February 2019, Golf Channel announced a new subscription service known as GolfPass. The service will feature a variety of content, including a streaming library of archive content, instructional content, as well as special offers (such as credit for free round of golf per-year, and a premium tier offering additional discounts). Rory McIlroy will also be involved in the service, hosting new instructional content for GolfPass, as well as an autobiographical web series.
In February 2020, it was reported that Golf Channel would consolidate its television operations with the remainder of NBC Sports at its facilities in Stamford, Connecticut, in a move expected to occur over the next 12 to 18 months.The GolfNow and GolfPass services will continue to primarily operate from Orlando. With the move to Stamford, Golf Channel also ended its long-time morning show Morning Drive, replacing it with the new midday show Golf Today from Stamford beginning January 4, 2021.
Golf Channel is the pay television rightsholder of the PGA Tour, broadcasting live coverage of early rounds, and early window coverage of weekend rounds prior to network television coverage. Some events (particularly, early-season events such as the former Fall Series, and alternate events held against majors) are broadcast in their entirety by Golf Channel. Golf Channel also broadcasts primetime encores of the day's coverage, including network television broadcasts from NBC or CBS where applicable. Golf Channel also broadcasts coverage of PGA Tour Champions and Korn Ferry Tour events. Outside of events organized by the PGA Tour, Golf Channel also carries coverage of the European Tour, LPGA Tour, and Asian Tour.
Golf Channel is the cable broadcaster of two of the men's majors, including the U.S. Open and other USGA championships (since June 2020) and the Open Championship. Since 2016, it participates in NBCUniversal's coverage of the Summer Olympics by covering its golf competitions. It has also carried coverage of the Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup alongside NBC, and the NCAA Division I Men's and Women's golf championships
Since its integration with NBC Sports, Golf Channel has been occasionally used as an overflow channel for non-golf programming, including two games of the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs (due to programming conflicts with USA Network and CNBC), and a Premier League soccer match as part of NBC's Championship Sunday .
The Golf Channel uses a number of people for tournament, news and instructional programming.
For the month of October 2013, Golf Channel averaged a daily viewership of 84,000.
The Golf Channel is also available in Canada on most cable and satellite providers, as it is authorized for carriage as a foreign cable television service by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. While it mostly airs the American feed, some programs in this channel are subjected to blackouts as most broadcast rights are held by TSN.
A British version of the channel called Golf Channel UK was operated by sporting goods retailer JJB Sports, and was available on the BSkyB satellite service. It broadcast many of the programs seen on the U.S. channel, but was unable to attract a viable audience as it offered few live golf tournaments; the channel shut down on December 31, 2007.[ citation needed ]
Since the acquisition of Sky plc by Comcast in late-2018, NBC Sports properties have begun to increase their collaboration with Sky Sports for expanded coverage of relevant events; Golf Channel and Sky Sports Golf trialed on-air talent sharing and co-productions at the 2019 Players Championship.
The Latin American version of the Golf Channel was launched in 2006 as a DirecTV joint venture, and was acquired from DirecTV by former DirecTV executives Jason Markham and Evan Grayer together with Inversiones Bahia in 2018.The channel broadcasts professional tournaments from the PGA Tour, PGA Tour Latinoamérica, European Tour and LPGA Tour with Spanish-speaking journalists, as well as Golf Central and other English-language shows. In 2019, Discovery bought the channel.
NBCUniversal Media, LLC is an American mass media and entertainment conglomerate owned by Comcast and headquartered at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, United States.
NBC Sports Regional Networks is the collective name for a group of regional sports networks in the United States that are primarily owned and operated by the NBCUniversal division of the cable television company Comcast. The networks were originally established as Comcast SportsNet (CSN), a unit of Comcast's cable television business, beginning with a network in Philadelphia which launched in 1997. Their operations were aligned with the national NBC Sports division following the 2011 acquisition of NBC Universal by Comcast. NBC Sports Regional Networks' business and master control operations are based in Englewood Cliffs, NJ.
NBC Sports is an American programming division of the broadcast network NBC, owned and operated by NBC Sports Group division of NBCUniversal and subsidiary of Comcast, that is responsible for sports broadcasts on the network, and its dedicated national sports networking cables. Formerly operating as "a service of NBC News", it broadcasts a diverse array of sports events, including the French Open, the IndyCar Series, NASCAR, the National Football League (NFL), Notre Dame Fighting Irish college football, the Olympic Games, professional golf, Premier League soccer, the Tour de France and Thoroughbred racing, among others. Other programming from outside producers – such as coverage of the Ironman Triathlon – is also presented on the network through NBC Sports. With Comcast's acquisition of NBCUniversal in 2011, its own cable sports networks were aligned with NBC Sports into a part of the division known as the NBC Sports Group.
Olympic Channel is an American pay television sports channel owned by the NBC Olympics, a joint venture between NBC Sports and the United States Olympic Committee. It is dedicated to Olympic sports, and is a franchise of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Olympic Channel operation.
PRISM was an American regional premium cable television channel in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Launched in September 1976, PRISM was primarily distributed through area cable systems, although it was also available through a scrambled over-the-air signal on WWSG-TV from 1983 to 1985.
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Golf Channel on NBC is the branding used for broadcasts of golf tournaments produced by NBC Sports in conjunction with Golf Channel, on the NBC television network in the United States. The network's coverage focuses mostly on the PGA Tour, but also includes major events not sanctioned by the tour, such as the U.S. Open, The Open Championship, and the Ryder Cup. NBC also airs some tournaments from other tours to which NBC Sports Group holds the television rights, notably the European Tour.
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PGA Tour on USA was the umbrella title for USA Network's coverage of the PGA Tour in the United States, which ended after the 2006 season. USA also covered the early rounds of The Masters Tournament from 1982 until 2007. The network also carried the Ryder Cup Matches in some form from 1989 until 2010, except for the 2008 event.
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The PGA Tour's broadcast television rights are held by CBS Sports and NBC Sports, under contracts most recently renewed in 2021 to last through 2030. While it considered invoking an option to opt out of its broadcast television contracts in 2017, the PGA Tour ultimately decided against doing so. Golf Channel has served as the pay television rightsholder of the PGA Tour since 2007, and its current contract will also expire in 2021. Under the contracts, CBS broadcasts weekend coverage for an average of 20 events per-season, and NBC broadcasts weekend coverage for an average of 10 events per-season. Golf Channel broadcasts early-round and weekend morning coverage of all events, as well as weekend coverage of events not broadcast on terrestrial television, and primetime encores of all events. Tournaments typically featured in NBC's package include marquee events such as The Players Championship, the final three tournaments of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, and the biennial Presidents Cup event. The 2011 contract granted more extensive digital rights, as well as the ability for NBC to broadcast supplemental coverage of events on Golf Channel during its broadcast windows.