Golf’s TV Appeal Is Growing Globally

Many of us remember the days when the US PGA Tour season came to an end and so did golf on TV save for a few Skins Games, or made for TV events.  The coverage of global golf tournaments was limited, and if you were in the USA you turned to The Golf Channel to watch unfamiliar players, in unfamiliar tournaments, playing for titles you had probably never heard of.  That trend has clearly changed as golf’s appeal has struck a global note with both aficionados and networks alike.  The Nedbank Golf Challenge (NGC) which begins on Thursday December 1 at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, South Africa will be televised live to over 140 countries world-wide and will have an expected audience of 1.4 billion viewers.

One would expect large viewership numbers and global broadcasting for events like the Majors, the Ryder Cup, The Presidents Cup and The HSBC World Golf Championship in China, but not for an event that features a field of only 12 players, albeit 12 of the world’s best.  The scope of the global coverage of the event is impressive, and is yet another example of how golf is expanding its reach and not solely relying on the traditional US and European markets.  The coverage for the NGC follows solid viewership of the The World Cup in China and the Australian Open and Australian PGA Championship. 

“I’m not surprised at all,” said Marc Player, CEO, Black Knight International.  “If you look at the trends in golf course design over the past decade the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries, The Middle East and Eastern Europe is where the bulk of the new design projects are emanating from.  It makes sense that as these countries build more courses the number of people playing golf and watching the sport increases.  TV networks are smart.  They are staying on top of the growth of the game and translating it into increased viewership numbers.”

The International golf channels that will broadcast the Nedbank Golf Challenge include, Australia (Fox), Greece (Netned Hellas), Japan (Jupiter Golf), Singapore (StarHub), Spain (Canal +), UK and Ireland (BSkyB), Middle East (Showtime), USA and Canada (The Golf Channel), American Armed Forces Worldwide, Reuters, Indonesia (Astro Sport), Msia (Astro Sport), Brunei (Astro Sport), Korea (X Sport) and India (Sony), Hong Kong (PCCW), Thailand (True TV), Finland (Finsport), Asia (Eurosport).

Some 48 countries in Africa will have live coverage through SuperSport.

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