The PGA Tour is beginning the second campaign of a nine-year, $685 million media rights deal with ESPN+, the prominent subscription streaming platform that streamed more than 27,000 sporting events in 2022.
So far, the tour is ecstatic with the results.
In a conversation with Global Golf Post, tour officials noted several encouraging stats about the PGA Tour Live product that will offer 4,300 hours of live golf over the course of 35 tournaments in 2023.
PGA Tour Live was streamed by more viewers than any other live content on ESPN+ for the January-August window last year. Related to that popularity, ESPN+ witnessed a 42 percent increase in overall subscribers last year.
Luis Goicouria, the tour’s senior vice president of media, explained that PGA Tour Live’s viewership on ESPN+ dwarfs the numbers that were previously seen on NBC Sports.
“We're looking at more than 30 times (the viewers),” Goicouria said. “It’s exponentially more than what we were getting before.”
The service is seen as a critical device for fan engagement, and it figures to play a central role in the tour’s overall broadcast strategy moving forward.
Launched in 2015, PGA Tour Live provided another avenue for golf followers to consume tour competition beyond the traditional cable broadcast. The idea was for certain featured groups and holes to be streamed with minimal commercial interruption, creating a podcast-like environment where more in-depth conversations could be had.
The service originally was available for $4.99 per month, with the tour using its own site for distribution. In 2019, it was folded into NBC Sports Gold, where roughly 360 hours were broadcast in the first year of a three-year contract. Consumers paid $9.99 per month or $64.99 per season for the subscription.
While the product was seen as positive momentum for a sport lagging well behind other major sports in broadcasting innovation, the audience regularly complained of a poor user experience within the NBC Sports app, a lack of golf shots shown and difficulty switching between feeds.
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