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SBD Global/March 14, 2014/Media

Korea LPGA Accused Of Selling Broadcast Rights That Spurned Sponsors

The Korea LPGA "has been accused of selling tournament broadcast rights that fattened its own coffers at the expense of sponsors, advertisers and golfers," according to the KOREA JOONGANG DAILY. In February, the KLPGA, under the leadership of Chair Koo Ja-yong, "sold exclusive broadcast rights for three seasons" to cable TV channel SBS Golf for 14.5B won ($13.6M). Instead of a secret ballot, which the association traditionally used, Koo suggested in a February board meeting, “Why don’t we just sell them to the one who pays the most. Let’s have a show of hands.” An exec level source said, “We couldn’t say anything against Koo’s suggestion due to the awkward atmosphere in that meeting room.” Since SBS Golf became the exclusive KLPGA channel, "frustration has grown among the many sponsors and golf equipment manufacturers that commit tens of billions of won to tournaments as part of their marketing strategy." A KLPGA sponsor spokesperson said, “We can’t find a reason to spend 1.5 billion won per year to sponsor tournaments that only air on one channel. We are seriously considering ending the sponsorship.” Disgruntled sponsors "aren’t the only problem." Since SBS wants to make a return on its investment, the network "raised ad rates for its golf channel and angered advertisers." A golf equipment brand marketing director said, “The season hasn’t begun yet, but the markup on advertisement rates is huge.” The father of an active golfer "also complained about the decision." The father said, “It’s not good for players, either. Fewer channels for tournaments erodes the promotion effects for sponsors" (KOREA JOONGANG DAILY, 3/14).
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