WarnerMedia Discussed Golf-Focused Net In Talks With PGA Tour
WarnerMedia has told the PGA Tour that it would consider converting one of its existing TV channels into a golf-focused one, but only if it winds up with the PGA Tour rights that currently are being negotiated. WarnerMedia execs discussed the idea in preliminary talks with the Tour around its next round of rights, which are up in '21. The Tour has made it clear that it wants to control its own linear TV channel. NBC execs have discussed letting the Tour take an ownership stake in the NBCU-owned Golf Channel, which has carried the Tour’s cable TV rights exclusively for the past 13 years. WarnerMedia owns channels like HLN and truTV. Those two would be the most likely channels to be flipped if the company follows through on its initial plan. Other WarnerMedia channels like TBS, TNT, CNN or Cartoon Network almost certainly would not be part of any plan to create a golf-focused channel. WarnerMedia has not finalized its negotiating strategy for Tour rights and still is weeks -- or months -- away from submitting a formal bid. It is possible that the company’s ultimate submission does not include a plan to flip one of its channels, but the fact that it has even considered such a plan shows how serious it is about the PGA Tour rights. WarnerMedia also is launching HBO Max next spring, and rights to Tour events could fit in with that strategy.