Dec
23
2010
Tour Saves XM/Sirius Deal
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

Good news — fans will be able to listen to PGA Tour coverage from their cars and computers next year, according to CBSSports.com’s Steve Elling. The Tour’s deal with XM/Sirius was expected to expire at the end of the year, but a last-minute agreement was reached with different terms that has the Tour covering some expenses.

“The tour basically has said, ‘Hey, we don’t want to lose this,'” the source said.

It’s unclear what the network is paying as rights fee, if anything, the source said. The initial deal with the tour, which included a rights fee that one employee estimated at around $4 million annually all told, was struck when XM and Sirius were warring entities and battling to land big-league sports broadcasting rights. They have since merged.

According to the source, the tour will handle compensation of the on-air talent and help share production costs. The PGA Tour Network broadcasts 26 live hours each tournament week and has a spate of morning talk shows. The deal must be finalized, but since the tour has already agreed to the network’s terms, no hurdles are expected. A formal announcement is expected after Christmas.

It’ll be interesting to see how much rope the tour, which doesn’t have the thickest skin as it relates to unvarnished opinions and uncomfortable topics, gives the on-air reporters and show hosts, although it doesn’t seem to be a huge concern at the moment.

“It was all one big family anyway,” the source said. “The paycheck’s on a different letterhead. Who cares? It’s always been the PGA Tour Network. Now it’s become an official seat at the table.”

In other words, prepare to hear the broadcasters chirping about the FedEx Cup until your ears ring from disinterest.

According to a separate (as far as I’m aware) source familiar with the situation, it’s a one-year deal and then the Tour will probably take over entirely.

How is the quality of the XM/Sirius broadcast, anyway? Since I don’t drive in NYC, I’ve never listened to it. Curious to hear what people think of the coverage.