CBS agreement boosts LPGA’s network exposure strategy

The Ladies Professional Golf Association has hailed further progress in its strategy of securing greater exposure on network television in the United States, with the news that CBS will cover the final round of the 2016 Marathon Classic tournament.

The event will air live on CBS Sports from 4-6pm ET on July 17, 2016. Pay-television broadcaster the Golf Channel will broadcast the opening three rounds, along with producing all four days of coverage. The agreement grants the Marathon Classic network exposure for the first time since its inaugural edition in 1984.

“Our team has been focused on expanding our network TV coverage, which gives us a chance to showcase the LPGA to a much broader audience to attract more casual fans,” LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said. “Adding CBS to the Tour’s schedule is an incredible addition, and we realise that this would not have been possible without the tremendous support of Marathon Petroleum. They continue to raise the bar in Toledo, and to help make women’s golf a priority on the sports landscape.”

The Marathon Classic becomes the seventh event in 2016 that will be on network television for at least the final round, up from just two events in 2011. Women’s golf will now be featured on all four major US networks for the first time in the Tour’s history. NBC will cover the weekend of the Women’s PGA Championship, Sunday of the International Crown, the weekend of the Women’s British Open and Sunday of the Evian Championship. ABC will again broadcast the final round of the season-ending Tour Championship, and the U.S. Women’s Open will be broadcast on Fox for the second consecutive year.

In addition to the growth in network opportunities, the LPGA Tour’s television hours have nearly doubled over the last four years with a record of more than 400 hours of the world’s best female golfers performing in front of a global audience in 2016.

Whan added: “I’m excited that we’ve gone from two events in 2011 to now having seven on network television in 2016. For four straight weeks this summer, in the weeks leading up to golf’s return to the Olympics in August, we’ll showcase the best females in the game on network television.”

The 2016 Marathon Classic is set to take place from July 14-17 at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio. Last year, Chella Choi (pictured) defeated Ha Na Jang in a one-hole playoff for her first career LPGA Tour victory.