PGA Tour Live is more than six years old, debuting in 2015. In about a month and after a half-dozen years, it may finally start reaching its true potential value for golf fans.
That's because, come the new year, PGA Tour Live is moving and expanding in scope.
PGA Tour Live is moving from NBC Sports Gold to ESPN+ in January, changing platforms in a move that dovetails with the start of the new, nine-year rights deal with traditional partners NBC/Golf Channel and CBS. With that move comes a massive surge in the amount of live golf available through PGA Tour Live. According to a joint release from the PGA Tour and ESPN, PGA Tour Live will triple in coverage, offering approximately 4,300 hours in 2022, including 3,200 new hours.
PGA Tour Live will be available at 35 tournaments, starting with the Hawaii Swing. Most importantly, PGA Tour Live will expand to four simultaneous feeds and four full days of coverage for at least 28 of these events.
In addition to the Featured Holes and Featured Groups feeds we've become accustomed to seeing with PGA Tour Live, PGA Tour Productions, which has built an impressive facility in anticipation of this expansion, is adding two new feeds. The first is called Main Feed, and it will be a traditional-style presentation of coverage with action from across the course. The second is Marquee Groups, which will show every shot from every player in that group for their entire round.
When network coverage begins each day, the Main Feed and Marquee Groups will go dark, while the Featured Holes and Featured Groups streams will remain. The four-stream concept begins at The American Express in January, with the first event of the year in the mainland United States.
The weekly production crew will increase in size from approximately 85 people to more than 210, with 16 cameras on the course and a 15-person crew calling the action across the four streams.
Even better news for fans is the cost. As part of the deal, PGA Tour Live will become part of the base ESPN+ subscription in January, meaning golf fans will get PGA Tour Live for $7 per month and no longer have to pay $10 per month for a golf-specific service through NBC Sports Gold. Instead, they'll be able to get the PGA Tour, other golf coverage and the full breadth of ESPN's digital-only streaming offering for one price. NBC Sports Gold will no longer offer PGA Tour Live, and the billing for those existing customers stops on Dec. 31.
What will this partnership mean for golf fans and the business of golf broadcasting?
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