Steve Elling at GolfBlot first reported the elimination of 30 jobs at Golf Channel, most reportedly within the network's original programming division.
The move suggests that the network's signature reality show, Big Break, is on a long term hiatus in favor of live tournament golf or round replays.
Over the past few weeks, shows such as Big Break or the occasional series featuring NBC Sports broadcaster Jimmy Roberts have largely disappeared from the network’s landscape. Roberts will be used as a contributor in other programs, the network said.
“Golf Channel has realigned some business functions to add emphasis on live events, news and digital businesses,” the company said in a three-sentence news release.
Golf Channel insiders maintain that even though profit margins remain substantial at the 20-year-old network, new parent company Comcast ordered the workforce reductions, which had little to do with any actual change in broadcasting focus.
That said, the network has routinely boasted of setting viewership records over the past few months.
“And what are those numbers attached to?” Schaefer said. “Live events.”
Golfweek's Martin Kaufmann filed a similar take on the layoffs, noting that documentaries will still be part of the focus as will the "Altered Course" reality show currently gearing up for launch.
The spokesman noted that Golf Channel added more than 150 positions last year, mostly at its headquarters in Orlando, bringing the company’s total head count to nearly 1,000 employees. The spokesman said more hirings are anticipated, but those jobs will be directed toward live golf, news and digital platforms.
In the coming weeks it'll be interesting to see if the layoffs are mentioned in the almost-weekly stories on the demise of the game.