Discovery buys Golf Digest and strengthens PGA Tour deal

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FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Discovery Inc. purchased Golf Digest on Monday in a deal that will provide exclusive content from Tiger Woods and strengthen its relationship with the PGA Tour as it sets out to build golf's largest digital network.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The announcement comes nearly one year after Discovery signed a $2 billion deal with the PGA Tour to deliver golf content directly to 220 markets outside the United States over the next 12 years. It then signed Woods to a partnership and formed GolfTV, for which Woods provides content not found anywhere else.

Woods made his only public comments since his winner's news conference at the Masters in an interview with GolfTV. While the content is distributed to overseas markets, Discovery has been liberal in sharing portions of that interview and other content from golf's biggest star on social media.

GolfTV recently signed British Open champion Francesco Molinari of Italy to a similar deal.

The purchase from CondeNast, which bought Golf Digest from The New York Times Co. in 2001, allows Discovery to reach golf fans with everything from instructional videos to equipment profiles, golf course rankings and travel destinations.

"It's a natural strategic fit with Discovery's goal to be the leading golf media platform in the world," said David Zaslav, president and CEO of Discovery. "Through our investments with the PGA Tour, the European Tour and our partnership with Tiger Woods, we wanted to bolster GolfTV's international offerings with Golf Digest's award-winning journalism, broad consumer reach and deep content library, while also creating the largest U.S. digital golf business."

Discovery's networks include Animal Planet, and it added the Food Network, HGTV and Travel Channel through its acquisition last year of Scripps Networks Interactive. Its Eurosport network reaches 700 million and holds Olympic rights through 2024.

Discovery does not have live golf rights in the U.S., and its acquisition of Golf Digest doesn't change that. Instead, it wants to move some of Golf Digest's digital content onto its GolfTV streaming video.

The company also will widen its partnership with the PGA Tour, helping advertisers reach fans and players through on-demand video streaming and digital, social, print and branded content.

"We have agreed to work closely together to align digital platforms of the PGA Tour and Golf Digest," said Rick Anderson, the PGA Tour's chief media officer. "By joining forces, we have the opportunity to create the largest platform out there."

Woods previously had an endorsement deal with Golf Digest magazine from his early days on the PGA Tour. He was among the magazine's playing editors, contributing instructional pieces in a deal that ended in January 2011.

With the Discovery purchase, Woods will once again become a big presence on Golf Digest platforms.

"This is an important step in enhancing and expanding the U.S. and global reach of Discovery and GolfTV," Woods said in a statement. "It gives me another platform to tell my story directly to fans and makes my partnership with Discovery even stronger."

Alex Kaplan, general manager of Discovery, said Golf Digest will continue to publish a magazine every month and Jerry Tarde will remain as editor-in-chief. The editorial side of Golf Digest joins Discovery. Tarde also will be global head of strategy and content for Discovery Golf, overseeing editorial and expanding his duties into GolfTV.


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