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175 million viewers over the course of a year*
When the PGA Tour signed a long-term TV contract in 2005, its broadcast partners were concerned that then-nascent digital channels would start to siphon off the audience for the events.
But when the PGA Tour last September inked a nine-year deal with CBS Sports and NBC Sports, the networks had changed their tune about digital media, said Tom Wade, CMO of the PGA Tour.
“Now everyone realizes it's paramount to put content in venues where consumers want to use it,” he said. “[Digital] doesn't cannibalize the audience, but supports it.”
Wade said the PGA Tour is currently developing a media platform to stream all its events on mobile devices. Plans call for the platform to offer display advertising opportunities and enable advertisers to offer their products and services through e-commerce.
As it embraces digital media, professional golf programming continues to deliver a broad and affluent audience that is stocked with business decision-makers. Through early April, weekend telecasts for PGA Tour events this year drew an average of 3.4 million viewers, a 26% increase from the same period last year. With weekday telecasts this year added to the mix, PGA Tour events have garnered a total 107.1 million viewers from both broadcast and cable TV outlets.
“In an era when b-to-b marketers are concerned about whether their ad is going to be seen, well, it is going to be seen because people are less likely to time-shift a live sporting event than another area of programming,” said Brad Adgate, senior VP-research at Horizon Media. PGA Tour events run throughout the year on CBS, NBC and the Golf Channel. In addition to the televised coverage, the PGA Tour offers ad opportunities on www.pgatour.com, which attracts 5 million unique users a month.
Several of the top b-to-b brands align their messages with PGA Tour events, including AT&T, sponsor of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, and FedEx, which sponsors the FedExCup.
Professional services giant PwC has been a sponsor of PGA Tour events for more than a decade, and currently sponsors the Players Championship.
Jay Henderson, vice chairman-client service at PwC, said the company's affiliation with the tour goes well beyond its advertising buy. “An important component of it deals with the opportunity to create distinctive events at the tournaments,” he said.