NGF TOP 100 BUSINESSES IN GOLF
Golf Channel / GolfNow
Mike McCarley, President
Molly Solomon, Executive Vice President, Content and Executive Producer
Will McIntosh, Executive Vice President, Strategy
Jay Madara, Chief Financial Officer
Jeff Foster, Senior Vice President, GolfNow and Emerging Businesses
Tom Knapp, Senior Vice President, Golf Sponsorships
Julie Lusk, Vice President, Human Resources
Chris Murvin, Senior Vice President, Business Affairs and General Counsel
Phil Piazza, Senior Vice President, Programming
Geoff Russell, Senior Vice President and Executive Editor
David Schaefer, Vice President, Communications
Pepper White, Senior Vice President, Marketing
Arnold Palmer is often credited as the visionary behind Golf Channel, and it was his dogged and influential support that made it a reality. But it was an Alabama businessman named Joe Gibbs who first came up with the idea and successfully pitched it to The King, who in turn had to convince investors to financially back a 24-hour golf network and cable companies to also buy into the idea.
Launched in 1995 to about 130,000 homes, the first single-sport cable network in the United States is now available in more than 500 million homes in more than 80 countries and 9 languages around the world.
Comcast acquired sole ownership of Golf Channel in 2000, and in 2011 the network joined NBC Sports Group after Comcast acquired NBCUniversal. Golf Channel and NBC Sports broadcast PGA TOUR, LPGA Tour, European Tour, Web.com Tour, PGA TOUR Champions, NCAA National Championships and other worldwide tours Marquee events on NBC Sports include The Open, The Players, Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup, Solheim Cup, Olympics and 4 of 5 women’s major championships. Daily news programs include Morning Drive and Golf Central, along with the network’s Live From programming, airing on-site from the game’s biggest events.
Golf Channel also broadcasts instruction programs, original productions such “Arnie,” “Jack” and “Seve,” and award-winning shows like “Feherty,” featuring the Emmy-nominated David Feherty.
Golf Channel also owns GolfNow, the world’s largest online tee time reservation platform and golf course technology partner; GolfChannel.com; Golf Live Extra and NBC Sports Live Extra, the 24/7 live streaming options for Golf Channel programming; Golf Channel Mobile, a comprehensive app featuring golf’s latest headlines, scores and analysis; GolfAdvisor.com, the world’s most trafficked golf course ratings and reviews resource; Revolution Golf, golf’s largest direct-to-consumer digital platform serving instruction, travel and integrated e-commerce content; Golf Channel Academy, a North American network of instructional facilities; and Golf Channel Amateur Tour, the world’s largest amateur golf tour.
GolfNow is the most visible of the digital businesses owned by Golf Channel, giving more than 3 million registered users the ability to search and book golf online at more than 8,000 courses worldwide. Its VIP program offers exclusive benefits, including waived convenience fees, enhanced rewards and worry-free tee times.
Additionally, GolfNow provides technology and services designed to help affiliated courses manage their businesses more efficiently and effectively: a consultancy service to improve marketing and pricing strategies, a purchasing program that can save facilities up to 35 percent on items and equipment, and a 24/7 telephone support system run by golf-savvy experts.
Golf Channel’s multi-faceted business has grown far beyond its roots of only broadcasting golf tournaments, a necessary step these days when more and more consumers, especially younger ones, are watching events via other vehicles in addition to cable television.
The company boasts the largest engaged digital audience in golf, one that got even bigger in 2017 with the acquisition of Revolution Golf, which delivers video-based instruction, travel content and integrated e-commerce.
The most recent addition fits in with the strategy created back in 2007, when Golf Channel originally acquired GolfNow and began its transformation from a traditional media company into a new media technology platform.