Golf Channel Acquires Revolution Golf, Boosting Digital Audience To 15 Million – Forbes
Golf Channel is far more than a 24-hour television network devoted to golf. Over the past decade, Golf Channel has created the largest engaged digital audience in golf, and that following is now 15 percent bigger with the acquisition of Revolution Golf.
With almost 2 million subscribers, Revolution Golf is the industryâs largest direct-to-consumer digital platform, delivering high-quality video-based instruction, travel content and integrated e-commerce. It joins Golf Channelâs portfolio of digital golf lifestyle products that includes GolfNow and Golf Advisor, increasing NBC Sports’ digital monthly users to 15 million golfers across all platforms.
In some respects, this new partnership is the latest step in helping Golf Channel become the Amazon Prime for golfers. Will McIntosh, the senior vice president of business and strategy for Golf Channel, says Revolution Golf fits in with the vision created back in 2007 when the network acquired GolfNow and began its transformation from a traditional media company into a new media technology platform.
âAt that time, the vision was really to take this passionate audience that had been cultivated through Golf Channel and turn that audience into something that was more meaningful from a digital platform standpoint,â McIntosh said in an interview. âOur thinking at that time was — any time a golfer is trying to connect with the game of golf, with their passion, how can we get involved in facilitating that relationship? GolfNow essentially became lightning in a bottle and took off. But in the back of our minds, we were always thinking about other ways that golfers are connected with the game.â
Revolution Golf gives Golf Channel and the NBC Sports Group another subscription-based business thatâs not dependent on rights fees. Revolution Golf, meanwhile, gets to enhance its video content by tapping into Golf Channelâs vast library of content that spans Bobby Jones to Ben Hogan to Jack Nicklaus to Phil Mickelson.
âWe all want to grow the game of golf,â Revolution Golf CEO and founder Justin Tupper said in an interview. âThe more we become an all-around digital golf company, the more we have an opportunity to connect people with the game, their equipment, their rounds of golf and their instruction.â
Tupper started producing and selling instructional videos on DVDs in 2009, running the business out of his home. âI was packing the boxes in my guest room and the UPS guy was coming twice a day,â Tupper says. Over the next eight years, Revolution Golf invested more than $25 million in advertising and today the companyâs video-based instruction features elite instructors such as Martin Chuck, Sean Foley, Martin Hall, Jim McLean and Andrew Rice.
âAt the core of every single golfer is their desire to play better golf, no matter what your skill set is,â Tupper adds. âMy concept is if you can help someone play better golf â through online instruction, training aids or help them identify equipment â theyâre going to know, like and trust you more.
âTheyâll be willing to give you more of their time, eyeballs and consumption and theyâre going to be able to give you more of their share of wallet. Being a passionate golfer, the irrational spending habits of golfers really resonates with me.â
Five years ago, Revolution Golf launched a premium subscription offering for which members pay up to $124 annually to access a library of exclusive video content, special offers on training aids, equipment, and exclusive member-only events. Two-thirds of the business’s subscribers play golf at least once a week during the season. That participation is part of what makes golf unique â the sportâs fans are also passionate players.
Golf Channel is serving that passion. And not just via TV, but also through its continually growing digital businesses: playing, instruction, travel and now e-commerce.
As Golf Channelâs McIntosh says — âWe want to connect the world to golf.â