PGA Faces Tough Television Negotiations

Businessweek has an article on the weakened position that the PGA finds itself in as it prepares to negotiate a new round of television contracts.

Flush with Tigermania, the networks paid $850 million in rights fees between 2003 and 2006. The thought apparently was that golf was the next big thing in sports marketing.

But as Tiger struggled, so too, did tv ratings.

Now the networks are threatening to cut coverage and rights fees.

And that will produce a good deal of fallout in the golf world, as purses will decline, and smaller tournaments, perhaps, will find themselves out.

As noted before in this blog, one thing the Tour is considering is an end-of-the-year “playoff” similar to the very successful program that NASCAR is running. Players would accumulate points over the course of the season to qualify for the final three tournaments.

The season then would end in September with the Tour Championship, leaving a couple of smaller tournaments in the fall for players on the bubble to try rise up the money list.

The thought is that the “chase” would build excitement throughout the summer, and that it might force the marquee players (read Woods and Mickelson) to play more. (No need to force Vijay to do so).

There also will be a reshuffling of the schedule so that there is a “major” event each month, moving the Players to May, and the Tour Championship up to September.

I actually think that the reshuffling of the season would be enough. Starting in April, you would have The Masters, then The Players, The US Open, The Open (British) Championship, the PGA Championship, and then the Tour Championship in September.

I actually hate the idea of a playoff. The golf season has traditionally revolved around the majors and should continue to do so.

Mark over at SportsBiz Blog has some more thoughts.

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