Golf Digest has a new owner, only for the third time in its history. On May 13th our sale was completed from Condé Nast to Discovery, Inc., the media company best known for its suite of real-life entertainment networks like Discovery Channel, HGTV, and the Food Network, and which has successfully expanded into golf.
Golf Digest now stands to reach more golfers in more ways, and in greater depth, than ever before.
“Golf Digest is a world-class brand that has become the go-to authority for millions of golf enthusiasts, professional players and global advertisers,” said Discovery, Inc. President and CEO David Zaslav. “It’s a natural strategic fit with Discovery’s goal to be the leading golf media platform in the world.”
Along the way, we received interest from a wide spectrum of suitors in and outside of both golf and media, but it was Discovery’s ambitious plans to create a “digital home of golf” that seemed an ideal match from the start. Along with landing PGA Tour rights outside the U.S. for the next 12 years last June, GOLFTV has secured rights to the European Tour, the Ladies European Tour and the Masters in select markets, and has also struck exclusive content partnership with Tiger Woods and Open champion Francesco Molinari.
Discovery has always had made significant commitments in other sports, most notably through its 2014 purchase of Eurosport. Last year, the company broadcast the Winter Olympics to 76 million users across digital platforms and believes golf presents a similar opportunity to attract a passionate international audience.
“What acquiring Golf Digest does for us is it provides an unparalleled level of expertise, authority, access, and credibility around the game that we don’t have today. As simple as that sounds, it’s a game changer,” said Alex Kaplan, President and General Manager of Discovery Golf. “You don’t build a worldwide presence as the preeminent authority in golf overnight, so the ability to acquire that level of knowledge and integrate into what we’ve built, and more importantly what we’re planning on building all over the world is incredibly exciting.”
Jerry Tarde will continue to oversee Golf Digest as Editor-in-Chief and also adds the title of Global Head of Strategy and Content, Discovery Golf. “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,” said Tarde, who has been the top editor at Golf Digest since 1984. “As we look to the future, Discovery’s global scale and ability to light up content on all platforms and in every language will benefit golf and golfers worldwide.”
On many levels, Golf Digest’s objectives remain the same. We’ll still produce a monthly print magazine committed to the best advice on how to play, what to play and where to play, along with features on the most compelling personalities and issues in golf. GolfDigest.com will still be the robust mix of golf news, culture, and how-to instruction that makes it the most popular website in the game.
With Discovery’s deep experience in streaming video and with its PGA Tour partnership, Golf Digest will add immense capability for delivering expanded content to golfers in innovative ways, and to a broader audience that extends into 220 markets and territories.
“Discovery is invested in all things digital. It’s a big part of how we’re expanding our business, and golf is one of the key verticals we’re investing in heavily,” Discovery’s Kaplan said. “We’ll be able to bring golf content from the preeminent golf source onto platforms we know golf fans and consumers in general are spending an increasing amount of time on.”
The Discovery purchase also allows for a reunion of sorts with Woods, the 15-time major champion who served as a Golf Digest Playing Editor for more than a decade earlier in his career and whose new content partnership with Discovery has already resulted in some compelling exchanges with GOLFTV’s Henni Zuel.
“I couldn’t be more excited about Discovery’s acquisition of Golf Digest,” Woods said in a video statement. “It gives Discovery and GOLFTV an amazing platform in the U.S. for me to tell my story to the fans and make my partnership with Discovery even stronger. The power of Golf Digest and Discovery’s vision of powering people’s passions is great for the game of golf.”
Tiger Woods said: “This is an important step in enhancing and expanding the U.S. and global reach of Discovery and GOLFTV. It gives me another platform to tell my story directly to fans and makes my partnership with Discovery even stronger. This acquisition, along with what Discovery and GOLFTV have already done with the PGA TOUR, is great for the game of golf.”
The move to Discovery, Inc. comes as Golf Digest prepares to celebrate its 70th anniversary next year. The magazine was founded by William H. Davis in 1950 in Evanston, Ill. He was later joined by his fellow Northwestern University classmates Howard R. Gill Jr. and Jack Barnett. The three alternately traded jobs as an editor, publisher and business manager before selling Golf Digest in 1967 to The New York Times Co., which in turn sold it to Condé Nast in 2001.
The Discovery acquisition will also feature the introduction of a new sales structure in which Golf Digest and the PGA Tour will combine to create a one-stop digital network in which advertisers can engage with fans across Golf Digest, PGA Tour, and GOLFTV platforms.
Jerry Tarde, Editor-in-Chief, Golf Digest, and Global Head of Strategy and Content, Discovery Golf, 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.”
Alex Kaplan, President and General Manager, Discovery Golf, said: “This is a big deal for Discovery to add Golf Digest to our golf portfolio. Adding Golf Digest to GOLFTV and our existing PGA TOUR, European Tour, Tiger and Francesco content will be a big win for the sport. We are offering something unique, whether you’re a fan, player, viewer, brand or advertiser. We can utilize the strengths of both Golf Digest and our burgeoning GOLFTV platform, establishing a global editorial powerhouse delivering content across all platforms to engage and inspire millions of passionate golf fans around the world.”
Kaplan added, “A critical piece is Golf Digest’s people. We’re thrilled to welcome aboard Golf Digest’s world-class team and its Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, Jerry Tarde, who is widely considered the dean of golf journalism.”
Golf Digest reaches millions every month across all platforms:
• 60 million video views
• 4.8 million readers
• 4.8 million digital uniques
• 2.2 million social followers