LPGA’s Whan hails tour growth as IMG renews

The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) has extended its representation agreement with IMG Media.

28 March 2013 Michael Long
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The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) has extended its representation agreement with IMG Media.  

IMG first began representing the commercial interests of the women’s golf circuit in 1996, distributing content to just six countries. Today, however, each event on the LPGA schedule is transmitted to around 160 countries and in the majority of cases on a live basis.

Speaking exclusively to SportsPro earlier this month, LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said it was “pretty hard to find a weak spot” in the LPGA Tour’s commercial growth in recent years, especially with regards to television coverage.

“We’ve gone from having 60/70 countries watching us when we play in the not-too-recent past to 160-plus countries watching us all the time now,” he said. “A couple of years ago in the US, we probably had about 220 hours of television coverage and the really depressing part is that, of that 220 hours, 60 per cent of it was tape delayed.

“If you jump forward to 2013, we’ll have about 330 hours of coverage in the LPGA – the most we’ve had in our 63-year history. It’s never been close to that number in 60 years for an annual season and 93 per cent of that is live.”

Peter Smith, senior vice president and director of international sales at IMG Media, said in a statement announcing the renewal on Wednesday: “The LPGA is truly the only global golf tour. Both the continuing growth of the schedule, domestically and internationally and the remarkable skills and personalities of such a widely geographic group of talented players are the real reasons for this tremendous growth and global visibility of the LPGA Tour.

“As a result, I have seen our relationship with the LPGA develop to be far more of a partnership than a simple client/agent representation.” 


An in-depth interview with LPGA commissioner Mike Whan features in the May 2013 edition of SportsPro. To subscribe today, please click here.


 

LPGA – IMG Media