Japan's Jupiter provides first PGA Tour deal for Discovery
By Jonathan Rest
Discovery, the US media group that owns sports broadcaster Eurosport, today announced its first deal for rights to US golf's PGA Tour, entering a partnership with Jupiter Golf Network, the specialist cable and satellite broadcaster in Japan.
Under the agreement, Discovery has sub-licensed to Jupiter exclusive pay-TV rights to the PGA Tour, as well as the ability to simulcast this programming via a digital service live and on-demand for a select time.
As part of the broader distribution strategy in Japan, Discovery and the PGA Tour said they will "confirm incremental broadcast distribution partnerships, including select free-to-air coverage, in due course."
Jupiter has been a long-term partner of the PGA Tour in Japan, and will continue to showcase the biggest tournaments such as The Players Championship, FedEx Cup Playoffs and the Presidents Cup, the biennial contest between USA and a combined international team from outside Europe, on its linear channel and online via its app.
In June, Discovery struck a 12-year, $2-billion global rights agreement (excluding USA) with the PGA Tour, effective January 2019, to create an over-the-top offering and also distribute the multi-platform rights to the Tour, including the linear rights.
Late last month, Discovery unveiled GolfTV as that OTT offering, and said it was in the process of selling on rights to broadcasters around the world, stressing that it was working on "a robust distribution and broadcast partner strategy for the portfolio, optimising reach across free-to-air, pay-TV and digital, and will explore partnering with existing PGA Tour and golf broadcasters to continue to grow the game."
Jupiter's is the first deal to be signed off, and Alex Kaplan, president and general manager, Discovery Golf, said: "This is a real win for the passionate and growing community of golf fans in Japan, promising to deliver even more of the sport’s biggest moments all-year-round and made available however fans want to watch: TV, online or mobile.
"Building on world-class localised Japanese coverage on Golf Network and GolfTV, together with Jupiter Golf Network we have ambitions to establish a more comprehensive digital partnership, best utilising our platforms and content to further grow viewership and broaden engagement around golf throughout the country."
Full live coverage of GolfTV, which will stream more than 2,000 hours of live coverage each year, will not be offered in some markets until existing deals with broadcasters have expired. However, in those markets where agreements are still in place, GolfTV will still be able to show the level of live content already available on PGA Tour Live, the Tour’s international streaming service that shows selected live holes and groups, along with non-live content.
As well as Japan, other markets where GolfTV will be fully available in 2019 include major golf markets like Australia, Italy, Spain and Canada.
Further down the line, markets such as China, India, southeast Asia and Latin America are being earmarked for development.
While PGA Tour Live, which GolfTV supersedes, is priced at $5.99 per month, it remains to be seen what the price point will be for GolfTV, although the cost will vary from market to market depending on economic factors and any linear TV deal that might be in place.
|Live rights availability in various markets|
|Year when rights available*||Country|
|2019||Australia, Belgium (Flemish), Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, Turkey, Israel, Singapore, Malaysia, Malta, Philippines, Vietnam and Ukraine|
|2020||Colombia, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Latin America, Poland, South Korea and Thailand|
|2021||Austria, Belgium (French), Balkans, Germany, South Africa, Czech Republic, Switzerland, China and Taiwan|
|2022||Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, New Zealand, UK & Ireland and India|
|2024||France, Middle East|
|* = Rights in all markets (excluding USA) to be managed by Discovery through strategic alliance with PGA Tour by 2024|