Industry News

Golf Channel commemorates 25 years on Friday, Jan. 17

Silver anniversary celebrated across Morning Drive, Golf Central, GOLF Digital, GOLF Films, GOLFPASS, GOLFNOW and GOLF Advisor

ORLANDO, Fla. (Jan. 13, 2020) – GOLF Channel will celebrate its 25th anniversary on Friday, Jan. 17, when in 1995 it launched as the first single-sport cable network, co-founded by Arnold Palmer and cable entrepreneur Joe Gibbs. GOLF Channel has grown to become the tentpole of NBC Sports Group’s GOLF portfolio of businesses with more live tournament coverage than all other U.S. networks combined, and high-quality news, instruction and entertainment programming dedicated to showcasing the global sport of golf.

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“Arnold Palmer was so proud of the role GOLF Channel plays in connecting the world to golf and we take great pride in carrying forward his legacy as we forge a path for the next quarter century,” said Mike McCarley, president, GOLF, NBC Sports. “A prime example of how much GOLF Channel has grown – from just 15 hours of live programming the network’s first week 25 years ago to more than 100 live hours this week from three U.S. time zones and five countries. As we look ahead to 2020, GOLF Channel will be on the ground at all of the men’s and women’s major championships, The Players, Tokyo Olympics, FedExCup Playoffs, UL International Crown and Ryder Cup.”

GOLF Channel has grown from 10,000 U.S. households in 1995 to reaching nearly 500 million golf fans around the globe in more than 70 countries and nine languages. Since joining the NBC Sports Group in 2011, GOLF Channel has been one of the fastest-growing cable networks in television (2011-2013) and in 2019, golf fans streamed nearly 1 billion minutes of live and VOD content. GOLF Channel has expanded its reach to also serve golfers and golf courses through a portfolio of digital lifestyle brands like GOLFPASS, a comprehensive digital membership that makes it easier for golfers to play, learn, travel, shop and watch golf; GOLFNOW, the leading online tee time marketplace creating seamless ways for golfers and golf courses to connect; and GOLF Business Solutions, which provides best-in-class technology and business services for the golf industry.

This week, GOLF Channel’s 25th anniversary celebrations include:

  • Morning Drive: All week, Morning Drive will be home to 25th anniversary content, leading up to Friday’s extended show (8-11:30 a.m. ET) featuring special guests, and news coverage from seven worldwide golf events. Highlights from the week include the U.S. Postal Service’s special announcement about Arnold Palmer’s 2020 commemorative stamp, golf industry congratulatory messages and the premiere of GOLF Films’ Day One: The Making of GOLF Channel short film.
  • Golf Central and “The Approach”: On Wednesday, Jan. 15 at 5:30 p.m. ET, GOLF Channel will re-air The Approach, the first show ever to appear on the network back in 1995. Golf Central will set up the show for viewers, as The Approach is kicked off by President George H.W. Bush and features original hosts of ‘The Golf Channel’ previewing the network’s line-up and 1995-era golf and celebrity cameos.
  • GOLF Films Short Day One: The Making of GOLF Channel: Featuring interviews withfounder Joe Gibbs, executives, “launch day” employees and pulling from GOLF Channel’s historical archive, GOLF Films has produced Day One: The Making of GOLF Channel, a short film, and accompanying Golf Central Podcast episode. Chronicling the behind-the-scenes story of the years leading up to Jan. 17, 1995 – when Arnold Palmer and Gibbs flipped the ceremonial switch to launch ‘The Golf Channel’ – GOLF Films’ Day One will premiere on Morning Drive on Thursday, Jan. 16.
  • GOLFPASS: NBC Sports’ comprehensive digital membership featuring perks and benefits for any passionate golfer that makes it easier to play, learn, travel, shop and watch golf:
  • GOLFPASS Top 25 Fan Favorite Instruction Tips: Pulling from GOLFPASS’s Top 100 Instruction Tips, members can now favorite the tips that helped their game the most using the platform’s new favoriting feature. On Friday, Jan. 17, Morning Drive will announce the Top 25 Fan Favorites, which will be available for free at GOLFPASS.
  • GOLF Channel Historical Content: GOLFPASS has launched a carousel of GOLF Channel’s archived content from the network’s first year, including The Approach, the first show ever aired, the first Golf Central, which still airs daily on GOLF Channel, and golf events like the 1997 Arnold Palmer Gala, featuring Tiger Woods and Palmer playing a match against Davis Love III and Tom Lehman at Laurel Valley Golf Club.
  • GOLFPASS 25% Off Annual Memberships: For a limited time, GOLFPASS annual memberships are 25% Off.
  • GOLFNOW: Because the next best thing to watching GOLF Channel is playing golf,GOLFNOW is offering a special 25% Off Hot Deal this week via Twitter.
  • GOLF Advisor: As the ultimate golf travel destination online, GOLF Advisor announced an exclusive GOLF Advisor Getaway to Orlando, Fla., home to GOLF Channel’s World Headquarters and founder Arnold Palmer’s historic Bay Hill Club and Lodge. The stay and play travel package (fall 2020) will include playing Bay Hill and other marquee Orlando golf courses, as well as a VIP Behind-the-Scenes Tour of GOLF Channel’s studios and a meet-and-greet with GOLF Channel talent.

About NBC Sports Group’s GOLF Division
NBC Sports Group’s GOLF division delivers multimedia content, technology and services. Co-founded by Arnold Palmer in 1995, GOLF Channel’s content is available to nearly 500 million viewers in nine languages across more than 70 countries around the world. GOLF features more live coverage of the sport than all other U.S. networks combined, including global tournament action from the PGA TOUR, LPGA Tour, European Tour, NCAA, THE PLAYERS, The Open, Olympics, Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup, as well as high-quality news, instruction and original programming. Delivering unmatched coverage from the world of golf via GOLF Channel Digital, fans can access 24/7 live streaming through the NBC Sports App, as well as complementary coverage via PGA TOUR LIVE on NBC Sports Gold. In addition, NBC Sports connects the world to golf through a wide array of technology and lifestyle services, including: GOLFNOW, the world’s largest online tee time booking platform; GOLF Business Solutions, solving business needs through leading technology, marketing and services; GOLFPASS, an all-in-one digital membership delivering comprehensive benefits tailored to the modern golfer’s lifestyle; GOLF Advisor, the ultimate digital destination for the traveling golfer, featuring the largest number of user-generated golf course ratings and reviews in the industry; and GOLF Am Tour, the world’s largest amateur golf tour. GOLF’s global reach originates from its world headquarters in Orlando, Fla., and extends to its international office in Belfast, Northern Ireland; regional offices across North America, Europe and Australia; and also includes collaborations with Sky Sports and serving as the Official Media Partner of St Andrews Links.

-NBC Sports Group-

Media contacts:
Dave Schaefer
GOLF Channel Communications

Jeff Szklinski
GOLF Channel Communications