Networks Will Combine in April 2012 and Will Televise Events from All World’s Major Tours
TOKYO (Nov. 22, 2011) – Golf Channel Japan and Japan’s Golf Network, who have been competitors in the Japanese television market for 15 years, today announced a long-term, strategic partnership that will combine assets from both networks to create one, co-branded channel to super-serve golf fans in Japan. The announcement was made today by Golf Channel President Mike McCarley and Golf Network President Masashi Ishii at a press conference in Tokyo.
The press conference also included video congratulations by some of golf’s biggest names, including Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem, LPGA Tour Commissioner Mike Whan and Golf Channel co-founder Arnold Palmer.
Golf Channel programming is seen in more than 120 million homes in 78 countries worldwide. Since its launch as a 24-hour network in Japan in 1996, Golf Channel has competed with the Golf Network. Now as partners, the combined network will launch on April 1, 2012 with triple the homes (7.2 million) with access to Golf Channel programming. With approximately 12 million golfers, Japan ranks second only to the United States (26 million) as the largest golf market in the world.
“This new partnership has been 15 years in the making and fans of golf in Japan are the beneficiaries. The overwhelmingly positive support we have received from the golf community around the globe in putting this agreement together has made this a strong relationship that will serve the millions of Japanese golfers for years to come,” said Mike McCarley, president, Golf Channel.
“We are very excited to team up with the greatest golf-dedicated channel in the world. Combining Golf Channel’s highly acclaimed programs with our programs will result in a great expansion, providing Japanese golf fans a value-added service. I am sure that this is a significant page for each of our company’s history, and will be looking forward on bringing together the best of golf to Japan,” said Masashi Ishii, president, Golf Network.
When launched, the combined network will have additional rights to televise coverage of all the world’s major golf tours, including the PGA TOUR, LPGA Tour and European Tour, as well as men’s and women’s Major Championships, including the U.S. Open, Open Championship, PGA Championship, U.S. Women’s Open and Ricoh Women’s British Open. Golf Channel’s signature news shows like “Golf Central” and “Live From,” which will be localized on a live or near-live basis for Japanese viewers will be part of the programming lineup, as will entertainment shows like “Top 10” and instructional programming, such as “The Golf Fix” and “School of Golf.” The shows will continue to be produced by Golf Channel’s Japanese production and commentating teams at Golf Channel headquarters in Orlando, Fla.
About Golf Channel:
Golf Channel is a multimedia, golf entertainment and services company based in Orlando, Fla. The Golf Channel cable network, co-founded by Arnold Palmer and part of the NBC Sports Group, is available in more than 120 million homes worldwide through cable, satellite and wireless companies. Exclusive partnerships with the world’s top tours allow Golf Channel to feature more live golf coverage than all other networks combined, added to a programming schedule distinguished by golf’s best news, instruction and original programming. Golf Channel’s digital platform of businesses is led by www.GolfChannel.com, a leading golf destination on the Internet, delivering unmatched coverage of the world of golf, as well as services that help the recreational player with how to play, what to play and where to play golf.
About Golf Network:
Golf Network, the largest distributor of golf entertainment in Japan reaching more than 7 million homes, celebrated its 15th anniversary in October 2011. With majority owner Jupiter Communications Inc., Golf Network is the flagship channel of the company’s media division and televises coverage of more than 130 men’s and women’s tournaments a year. Featured programming includes live tournament golf, news and instruction.
-NBC Sports Group-