PGA Tour to Part Ways with Turner, Manage its Own Digital Properties

We’ve seen this movie before, when the NFL started taking control of its own content and starting the NFL Network. Now golf’s big professional tour, the PGA Tour, has announced plans to completely take over production of its own digital properties, ending a relationship it had with Turner Sports since 2006.

It’s perhaps a small surprise that golf’s biggest operator should want more control, since by its own account digital consumption of content is growing fast with no top in sight. And Mobile Sports Report readers already know that the PGA is planning to expand its live video options in 2013, with full simulcasts of broadcast TV available to the mobile, digital audience.

Paul Johnson, PGA TOUR Senior Vice President of Strategic Development, Digital Media and Entertainment, put it simply in the PGA’s press release:

“With the speed in which the digital landscape is changing, we feel it is important to control all aspects of the business directly,” Johnson added. “This does not reflect upon Turner, which has done a wonderful job and has been a great partner; it is about our overall strategy regarding our fans, players, sponsors and other stakeholders, and our desire to control those elements directly out into the future.”

The PGA and Turner, in our view, have done a pretty impressive job innovating, with cool online apps like Shot Tracker, which is due for an upgrade as well in 2013, maybe even getting to mobile platforms.

The real question, as golf writer Geoff Shackelford asks, is whether or not digital coverage will be better or worse in 2013. Is it a rebuilding year, or will the talent in Ponte Vedra Beach perform like LeBron? We, along with lots of other digital golf enthusiasts, will be watching.

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