Discovery Inc has announced that it has bought golf media brand Golf Digest from Condé Nast for $30 million.
The deal, in which Discovery Chief Executive David Zaslav prevailed in a bidding war over the Comcast-owned NBC Sports Group, the owner of the Golf Channel, was announced on May 13.
Golf Digest is the world’s No.1 golf media brand and will extend Discovery’s global golf media business to the US market through Golf Digest’s multiplatform distribution and reach. It also boosts Discovery’s ability to reach golf fans with instructional videos, equipment advice, course rankings, travel destinations, online bookings and more.
The $30 million price tag is a fraction of the estimated $430 million that Condé Nast paid to buy the monthly magazine and several smaller titles from The New York Times back in 1990. At that time, Golf World was reporting annual profits of around $20 million , whereas today the monthly title is said to been losing money, with sister title Golf for Women closing, while the weekly US-title Golf World is now digital-only.
Golf Digest, which earns nearly half of its revenues from digital advertising, will continue to publish a US monthly print magazine and Discovery will assume the global licenses for editions serving nearly 70 countries.
Editor-in-Chief Jerry Tarde and the rest of the editorial staff are expected to stay with the magazine, although the advertising staff may face cuts as Golf Digest and the PGA Tour begin to jointly handle commercial sales. In addition to overseeing the editorial content of Golf Digest, Tarde’s role will be expanded to include GOLFTV, and he will report to Alex Kaplan, President and General Manager, Discovery Golf.
Tarde said: “Golf Digest has this amazing team of editors, reporters, producers, photographers and contributors – all dedicated to helping golfers improve and be smarter consumers of the game we love. Discovery’s vision to create one global destination for everything a golf fan could want is perfectly aligned with what Golf Digest does every day. As we look to the future, Discovery’s global scale and ability to light up content on all platforms and in every language, combined with the PGA Tour’s brand, will benefit golf and golfers worldwide.”
The purchase of Golf Digest by Discovery, which owns the Food Network and HGTV, follows a 12-year, $2 billion deal to carry PGA Tour events outside the US and started GolfTV, a live and on-demand video streaming service outside the US. The US rights to the PGA Tour broadcasts are held by Comcast-owned NBC and its Golf Channel, with a limited number of events on CBS.
The acquisition creates a powerful programming engine by adding Golf Digest to GOLFTV’s offerings that already include exclusive carriage of the PGA Tour, the European Tour, and the Ladies European Tour, as well as the Masters Tournament, in select territories outside the US, and Discovery’s exclusive global content partnerships with Tiger Woods and Francesco Molinari.
David Zaslav, President and CEO of Discovery, Inc. said: “Golf Digest is a world-class brand that has become the ‘go-to’ authority for millions of golf enthusiasts, professional players and global advertisers. It’s a natural strategic fit with Discovery’s goal to be the leading golf media platform in the world. Through our investments with the PGA Tour, the European Tour and our partnership with Tiger Woods, we wanted to bolster GOLFTV’s international offerings with Golf Digest’s award-winning journalism, broad consumer reach and deep content library, while also creating the largest US digital golf business. Jay Monahan and the PGA Tour have been great partners and we are excited to expand our mutual vision to bring these amazing players and all of their terrific play to more people on more devices in every market in the world.”