Riding the growing popularity of women’s golf around the world, Golf Channel announced that its 2013 LPGA schedule will include 300 hours of original coverage in 2013 — including a 22 percent increase of tournament coverage from a year ago.
The unprecedented airtime includes all North American weekend telecasts aired live and in high-definition, as well as features designed to spotlight the stars on the LPGA Tour. The domestic schedule begins this week with the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix. The LPGA Tour has seen a 68 percent ratings increase over the past two seasons of domestic tournaments, and that is being rewarded with the additional coverage.
“Our fans have pushed the tour’s television coverage and ratings to new heights, and we’re pleased to present them with even more opportunities to watch our players in action,” said Brian Carroll, LPGA vice president of television and emerging media. “Our strong partnership with Golf Channel has provided us with many exciting ways to further showcase our players, not only during tournament telecasts, but also beyond the golf course.”
Added Golf Channel Executive Producer Molly Solomon: “The LPGA Tour continues to be a key part of Golf Channel’s overall tournament coverage. We have developed a great collaborative relationship with the Tour and invested more resources to better serve our loyal fans, which has created more inside-the-ropes access and more hours of coverage.”
Here are some highlights of Golf Channel’s 2013 LPGA schedule:
– For the second consecutive year, the tour will have live coverage for more than 90-percent of North American telecasts, including 100 percent of weekend telecasts.
– Nearly 30 hours of live coverage of The Solheim Cup, the biennial, international match play competition pitting the United States versus Europe. In addition to the telecasts, Golf Channel will also have live coverage of The Solheim Cup’s opening and closing ceremonies. The last playing of The Solheim Cup in the U.S. at Rich Harvest Farms outside Chicago in 2009 featured the highest-viewed LPGA round (Sunday) in Golf Channel history.
– Golf Channel will again provide robust tournament coverage at major championships at both the Kraft Nabisco Championship and Wegmans LPGA Championship. The Kraft Nabisco garnered the highest ratings on the network for a single event on the LPGA Tour last season, including the most-watched first round of the event on any cable network in 19 years and most-watched second round in 18 years. Golf Channel also will air live coverage of the LPGA’s fifth major, the Evian Championship, formerly the Evian Masters, contested Sept. 12-15.
– Golf Channel will televise pro-am shows from three tournaments: Kraft Nabisco Championship (April 4-7), Manulife Financial LPGA Classic (July 11-14) and CME Group Titleholders (Nov. 21-24).
– Hall-of-Famer Judy Rankin will return as the network’s lead analyst, joining one of three play-by-play hosts that include Terry Gannon, Whit Watson and Tom Abbott. Jerry Foltz, Val Skinner, Kay Cockerill, Kelli Kuehne and Kurt Byrum will also chip with their expert analysis.
2013 LPGA Schedule on Golf Channel (coverage is live and includes all rounds, except where noted)
3/14-3/17 RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup
3/21-3/24 Kia Classic
4/4-4/7 Kraft Nabisco Championship
4/17-4/20 LPGA LOTTE Championship Presented by J Golf
4/25-4/28 North Texas LPGA Shootout (tape-delay and live)
5/2-5/5 Kingsmill Championship
5/16-5/19 Mobile Bay LPGA Classic (tape-delay and live)
5/23-5/26 Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic (tape-delay and live)
5/31-6/2 ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented by Acer
6/6-6/9 Wegmans LPGA Championship
6/21-6/23 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship
7/11-7/14 Manulife Financial LPGA Classic
7/19-7/21 Marathon Classic Presented by Owens Corning & O-I
8/16-8/18 The Solheim Cup
8/22-8/25 CN Canadian Women’s Open (tape-delay and live)
8/29-9/1 Portland Classic Presented by Safeway
9/12-9/15 The Evian Championship
10/3-10/6 Reignwood Pine Valley LPGA Classic (tape-delay)
10/10-10/13 Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia
10/18-10/20 LPGA KEP HanaBank Championship (tape-delay)
10/24-10/27 Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship (tape-delay)
11/14-11/17 Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex and Jalisco
11/21-11/24 CME Group Titleholders
2013 LPGA schedule for non-Golf Channel coverage
6/27-6/30 U.S. Women’s Open (ESPN2/NBC)
8/1-8/4 RICOH Women’s British Open (ESPN2)