SBD/17/Sports Media

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  • FOX'S FORAY INTO GOLF SEEN AS MAJOR THREAT TO PGA TOUR

         "Ready or not, sports gets another golf tour today with a
    news conference at Sherwood Country Club [in Thousand Oaks, CA]
    to announce a new golf venture that has generated great
    controversy before its birth."  The World Tour is a joint venture
    of Fox Television and Executive Sports, a FL-based event
    management firm that puts on tournaments on the PGA, Senior PGA
    and LPGA tours, and Greg Norman.  News of the World Tour "already
    has been a source of deep concern" for PGA Tour Commissioner Tim
    Finchem, particularly since it arrives at a time when the FTC is
    investigating the PGA Tour for possible "unfair methods of
    competition" (Thomas Bonk, L.A. TIMES, 11/17).  "If enough
    players back the concept, the ramifications would be vast.
    Regular PGA Tour events would, in essence, be devalued and
    tournament sponsors would have less hope of landing marquee
    players, something that would probably force them to re-evaluate
    their investment in the tour" (Larry Dorman, N.Y. TIMES, 11/17).
         WHAT'S FOX UP TO?  Jon Mandel, Senior VP of Grey
    Advertising, compares golf to the NHL, which draws a younger
    demographic, and calls golf "antithetical to Fox's brand
    identity."  But Michael Hiestand lists three possible reasons why
    Fox Chair Rupert Murdoch would want to get involved with golf:
    1) "The old strategy of buying major sports events to buoy a
    network"; 2) The potential global audiences and sponsorship
    opportunities; and, 3) The "winning TV formula" of "chuck the
    chaff, stick to the stars" (USA TODAY, 11/17).  "Only the best,
    most popular, most marketable players are targeted for the Fox
    venture" (Bob Green, AP/ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/17).  The
    tournaments, which could be carried on Fox TV, fX cable, and
    Murdoch's cable systems in Australia, Europe, Asia and South
    America, will attract "sponsors that market products worldwide"
    (Mark Asher, WASHINGTON POST, 11/17).
         PLAYER REAX:  Norman and representatives of Fox and
    Executive Sports met yesterday with about 20 players who were in
    CA to participate in Norman's Franklin Funds Shark Shootout.
    Brad Faxon said the purpose of the meeting was to "get a good
    feel of what the players are thinking so that it's done the right
    way and we don't jeopardize our standing with the U.S. tour."
    Arnold Palmer:  "I've said for years that there was going to be a
    world tour.  I don't know what approach Greg is taking, but they
    need to put it together very, very carefully, with the blessings
    of the PGA Tour, the European Tour and all the golf entities.  I
    would hate to see anything interfere with the PGA Tour.  It's
    been the lifeblood of golf and should continue to be the showcase
    of professional golf" (Thomas Bonk, L.A. TIMES, 11/17).  The
    World Tour would stage 8-10 events with a limited field of 20-30
    golfers, underwritten by $25M from Fox.  Hale Irwin:  "There are
    many questions left to be answered.  For example:  Who are the
    sponsors other than Fox?" (USA TODAY, 11/17).
         ALL FOR ONE:  Following Finchem's statement that the PGA
    Tour would fight the new tour, the American Golf Sponsors also
    came out in opposition.  In a statement released yesterday, the
    group -- made up of tournament and title sponsors and local
    communities -- called the World Tour "antithetical to the spirit
    of competition that is provided in our full-field events"
    (American Golf Sponsors).
    

    Print | Tags: LPGA, News Corp./Fox, NHL, PGA Tour, Media
  • GOLF CHANNEL OFFERS AWARD FOR SCORE THAT CAN'T BE ACHIEVED

         The Golf Channel announced that it will award $1M to the
    first pro player on the PGA Tour, LPGA, Senior PGA or Nike Tour
    who scores a "59" or lower in regular tournament play.  The bonus
    will award $500,000 to the player and $250,000 apiece to the
    tour's charity and the charity of tournament at which the feat
    was accomplished.  Of the $500,000 that is designated for
    charity, $100,000 will be earmarked for programs introducing golf
    to the inner city.  Only two pros have ever reached the sub 60
    plateau in tournament play (Golf Channel).
    

    Print | Tags: LPGA, Nike, PGA Tour, Media
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