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JTBC Golf seals Discovery deal for PGA Tour rights in South Korea

South Korean broadcaster JTBC Golf has struck a sub-licensing deal with rights-holder Discovery to provide multi-platform coverage of the PGA Tour.

Under the multi-year agreement, which will begin in 2020, live action, highlights and support programming will be available on the JTBC Golf linear channel and simulcast via the company’s sister digital services.

The rights will be exclusive on linear television, with selected rights also exclusive on digital platforms.

Events such as the Players Championship, FedExCup Playoffs and the Presidents Cup will be included in the coverage. As part of the arrangement, other content from Discovery’s digital platform, ‘GolfTV powered by PGA Tour’ will be featured on JTBC Golf’s digital services.

GolfTV, which launched in various international markets in January 2019, is due to become available in South Korea in 2020. Discovery was able to negotiate a rights deal in South Korea from 2020 onwards following the recent expiry of the long-term rights agreement between the PGA Tour and SBS.

The creation of GolfTV was part of a 12-year $2bn (€1.8bn) deal struck by Discovery to manage the PGA Tour’s international multi-platform rights in June 2018. A wide-ranging agreement with Jupiter Golf Network, the Japanese pay-TV broadcaster owned by J:COM, was the first to be signed internationally.

Discovery Golf’s president and general manager, Alex Kaplan, said: “In addition to the roll out of GolfTV internationally, our partnership with JTBC Golf is a leading example of Discovery delivering against its ambition to build scale around golf and execute a robust distribution and broadcast-partner strategy for the portfolio.”

Discovery will also work with JTBC Golf to “explore new ways to bring premium golf coverage and content to South Korean audiences”, according to the global media company.

JB Perrette, president and chief executive of Discovery Networks International, spoke in August about the impact of GolfTV on the Discovery business internationally, including the improved leverage in carriage negotiations.

He said: “It’s also helping us on our core traditional business. In markets like Japan and Spain where those markets were up earlier this year, not only did we expand our relationship on the direct-to-consumer side, but we leveraged it for our entire portfolio to expand and strengthen with great revenue on our core.

“We have other key markets like Korea which come up next year and that’s a market that today, in the Discovery legacy business is way underserved. It’s a very small market for us and we’re using those conversations there to see if we can develop additional channel opportunities in our core business.”