ORLANDO, Fla. (Feb. 17, 2010) – Golf Channel and the LPGA announced today that the two organizations have finalized an agreement that gives the cable network's 24-hour channel in Japan cable exclusivity through 2011 for the events comprising the LPGA Tour International Package. Golf Channel Japan also extended its partnership for the same time period with Mitsui & Co., the network's Japanese distributor.
This recent agreement serves as an international extension to the 10-year, historic partnership launched between Golf Channel and the LPGA at the beginning of this year. Golf Channel Japan now will have exclusive rights – satellite, cable and mobile – to all LPGA Tour International Package regular season events. The package consists of all LPGA events, except the U.S. Women's Open, RICOH Women's British Open, Evian Masters Presented by Société Générale, The Solheim Cup when held in Europe, events held in Japan and events with a Japanese title sponsor. Also included in the package is simulcast rights to two LPGA major championships: Kraft Nabisco Championship and LPGA Championship Presented by Wegmans.
The new agreement also allows for bonus coverage of international events on Golf Channel's domestic network, which previously were scheduled for weekend coverage only. When the LPGA Tour kicks off its 2010 season this week, both the U.S. channel and its Japanese counterpart will carry exclusive coverage of three rounds of the Honda PTT LPGA Thailand event to be followed by four rounds of coverage for next week's HSBC Women's Champions event from Singapore.
“We're tremendously excited about this opportunity to grow our channel in Japan,” said Golf Channel President Page Thompson. “We're big believers in the LPGA and in growing the Golf Channel brand around the world.” Golf Channel programming is now seen in more than 60 countries around the world and reaches into more than 120 million homes, including 82 million homes in the United States.
Golf Channel's network in Japan is operated from its Orlando, Fla., headquarters. Its signal originates in Orlando, where the network employs an 11-person international staff that localizes – or translates and voices – the network's programming for its Japanese viewers. Golf Channel Japan capped off 2009 with originally produced specials, including Japanese Golfers in America: A Golf Central Special and Ryo Ishikawa at The Presidents Cup. Additional shows will be produced for Japanese audiences in 2010.
“We look for this agreement with our partner Golf Channel to further spur the popularity of the LPGA in Japan, where we benefit from the international appeal and impact of Japanese players led by Ai Miyazato,” said LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan. “The Golf Channel will help us provide our Japanese fans with an innovative television platform to watch their LPGA players compete around the world.”
Japanese fans continue to comprise the second-largest group of visitors to LPGA.com (16 percent), behind those living in the United States. To provide fans with Japanese-language content and more dynamic, real-time mobile information, the LPGA offers a special Japanese version of its Web site, uslpga.jp.
Upcoming LPGA Tour airtimes on Golf Channel:
Honda PTT LPGA Thailand
Friday, 9-10:30 a.m. ET
Saturday, 4:30-6 p.m. ET
Sunday, 4:30-6 p.m. ET
HSBC Women's Champions
Feb. 25, 12:30-3:30 p.m. ET
Feb. 26, 12:30-3:30 p.m. ET
Feb. 27, 1-3:30 p.m. ET
Feb. 28, 1-3:30 p.m. ET
Topics: Press Release