Sources: LPGA rethinking Golf Channel deal
Sources tell Golf World the LPGA is looking for a way out of the 10-year contract that made Golf Channel the exclusive cable partner for the women's tour beginning this year. The deal, negotiated by LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens (who was ousted in 2009) puts the LPGA at the end of a long line of live programming available to GC, including the PGA, European, Champions and Nationwide Tours. As a result, of the 94 official LPGA rounds this year, 38 were on delayed tape and 11 had no TV coverage at all -- meaning more than half the tour's rounds were not seen live. It's hard to build a fan base that way.
There is another possibility current commissioner Mike Whan might find attractive. Sources say when the Comcast purchase of NBC Universal is completed -- expected soon -- the new Golf Channel will put more emphasis on live programming. One thought: have LPGA events end on Monday, the same day Nationwide tourneys could begin. That would give Golf Channel seven days of live tournament programming, and that would be pretty cool.
-- Ron Sirak