The LPGA apparently has scrapped its plans for a tv network deal that would have included weekend coverage of four to eight tournaments. The tour currently operates under a less-than-desirable system in which individual tournament sponsors actually purchase network TV time. You heard that right: the LPGA pays the networks to broadcast their events.
The plan for 2010 was to combine several of those tournaments to create a pool for buying time and sharing revenues. It would have required title sponsors for four to eight tournament who would pay $1.5 million in television costs, plus an overall sponsor willing to pony up another $4 million annually.
But in the current economy, the LPGA was unable to find enough sponsors to make it worthwhile.
There will be just five LPGA events on network television this year. In 2008, there were eight. That includes the US Women’s Open and the British Women’s Open, which have separate deals.
But it’s not all bad news for the ladies tour. The LPGA does have the ten year Golf Channel deal, announced last month. They also have a new Korean television deal. Electronics manufacturer V-Tech also recently signed on. And although the Tour currently is in a multiple week hiatus, the void will be filled next year with a tournament sponsored by Bell Micro.
I plan to attend this year’s Jamie Farr in Toledo—perhaps the LPGA will issue me a press pass …. (hint, hint)