TV Execs Thrilled With FedEx Cup Sales

Golfweek's John Steinbreder talks to a few network suits who say the sales numbers were up on the PGA Tour and in particular, the FedEx Cup.

More important, the FedEx Cup likely will help make the first year of the Tour’s new TV deal profitable – at least for some of its TV partners, says a network executive speaking confidentially. (CBS and NBC as a matter of policy do not comment about contract finances.)

Another network source confirmed the improved fiscal performance, saying “the rights fees we are now paying are probably 10-15 percent less than they were before, while our sales revenues are up 10 percent.” Such gains, in part, came from a “slight” advertising premium charged for FedEx Cup events, new business from pharmaceutical companies and continued support from the financial services and auto industries, according to the source.

The turnaround in golf viewership is significant, considering the networks reportedly lost millions during the final years of the previous TV deal that expired following the 2006 season.

Said NBC Sports president Ken Schanzer in an e-mail: “Golf advertising sales were very strong for both our PGA Tour and USGA packages. We were delighted with how the first year (of the new TV contract) went. Our numbers were strong, overall interest was high, and the public seemed to like it.”

Steinbreder then details the less than large ratings numbers and how that may impact perceptions of the Cup.