The Upside of Discovery’s Partnership with PGA Tour

By | 2018-07-24T15:39:24+00:00 July 10th, 2018|Research|

Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images


This is a smart bet by Discovery to grow their viewer base outside the US – golf has become an increasingly global sport and it’s an untapped resource for the network.

The PGA Tour and Discovery are teaming-up on a major 12-year deal centered around international broadcast rights for more than 150 PGA events. Starting in 2019, Discovery will have exclusive broadcast rights for all PGA events outside the US, and the network will also launch a multi-platform streaming service aimed at driving more PGA engagement with a global audience.

At first glance Discovery and PGA Tour may seem like an odd partnership, but Discovery already enjoys international sports recognition through its EuroSport channel – which has secured European Olympic broadcast rights through 2024.  By adding PGA Tour broadcasts and expanded content, Discovery can continue to grow an international audience with one of the world’s most global sports.

Samba TV’s Data Analysis – Discovery & Golf

There’s nothing but upside for Discovery by tapping into the PGA Tour audience – Samba TV data shows low current overlap between Discovery Channel and Golf/Sports viewership here in the US:

Based on these figures, Discovery should be confident this partnership can pay-off in several ways:

  • We see a relatively small percentage of Discovery Channel viewers that consistently watch Golf on television (37%). This indicates that Discovery Network has room to grow their viewer base by adding the PGA broadcasts, and they are laying the groundwork to build PGA awareness and convert golf fans to a cable network that’s already well-known in Europe for sports content (via Eurosport).
  • Conversely, an even smaller percentage of Golf TV Viewers also watch the Discovery Channel (23%). Sports fans tend to tune-in wherever the event is being aired, so Discovery Channel can anticipate this percentage to grow when PGA coverage begins in 2019. The 12-year contract term also gives Discovery Network ample time to nurture the partnership and position themselves as the international leader in golf coverage.
  • This is a smart bet by Discovery to grow their viewer base outside the US – golf has become an increasingly global sport and is an untapped resource for the network. The inclusion of a direct-to-consumer streaming platform will also increase engagement with viewers and create more cross-screen advertising opportunities.
  • Additionally, the CBS/NBC rights for US PGA broadcasts expire in 2021 which opens the door for Discovery Network to make a play for exclusive rights in the US.



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