The Sports Business Journal is reporting that Directv and The Golf Channel’s owner, Comcast, are “far apart” on a new agreement. The current contract ends Dec. 31.
According to the article, The Golf Channel is among several DirecTV plans to drop for underperformance.
… Golf Channel’s timing could not be worse. This fall, DirecTV executives have been open about their plans to drop less popular channels and already have showed that they plan to take a hard line in dealing with them. DirecTV already dropped two Comcast-owned channels, Versus and G4, this year over rate increases and channel positioning. Comcast also owns Golf Channel, and if it gets dropped by DirecTV, the move could signal another sign of a larger dispute between the country’s two biggest distributors: DirecTV and Comcast.
“There will be other channels that are going to come down — channels that aren’t watched as much will come down,” said DirecTV’s Derek Chang during a discussion about dealing with increased programming costs at an industry conference in November. “If we’re going to do anything to try and mitigate the rise in costs on programming that we consider ‘must have,’ it’s got to come from somewhere. Otherwise, bills for customers will continue to go up.”
For their part, the DirecTV website is terse about the future of golf among its offerings:
We’re Negotiating to Keep the Golf Channel on DIRECTV
We are in discussions to renew the Golf Channel contract as we do year-round with a variety of networks when their contracts are up. There are no plans to take the channel down at this time.
Please enjoy your DIRECTV® service as you do today. There is nothing you need to do at this time.
For the latest updates, please refer to this website.
We thank you for being a DIRECTV customer and will continue to provide you with the superior television entertainment that you have come to know and rely on.
I’m a longtime DirecTV subscriber and while losing The Golf Channel will make me sad, it in no way will get me to go back to Comcast (unless it somehow comes up with the exclusive rights to the Majors). I had such a bad experience with Comcast six years ago that I switched to DirecTV and have never looked back. I’ve found that virtually none of the cable tv propaganda about satellite unreliability is true. Over the last six years, I can count the number of times I’ve lost the satellite feed on one hand. I lost my Comcast feed more often than that every year.
The real loser in this could be the LPGA, which has a Golf Channel exclusive. DirecTV apparently represents some 15 million of TGC’s 83 million subscribers. That’s nearly 20 percent of the total. It makes me wonder if the LPGA lawyers were clever enough to have an escape clause if The Golf Channel fell below a certain subscriber threshold.
As for the PGA Tour and Euro Tour events on Golf Channel—I’ll miss them. But I can still catch leaderboards and highlights on the internet. But lets hope it doesn’t come to that. Comcast needs to back off on its pricing demands. A channel that comes in 80th out of 88 prime time networks can’t go about demanding too much.