LPGA negotiates cable TV rights deal in Japan

LPGA Commisioner Mike Whan at a press conference prior to the 2010 Evian Masters.

LPGA Commisioner Mike Whan at a press conference prior to the 2010 Evian Masters.

The LPGA has agreed to an exclusive cable and satellite broadcast rights deal in Japan, giving the carrier access to approximately half of its tournaments.

WOWOW TV, the first private-satellite broadcasting and pay-television station in Japan, will begin live coverage of tournaments, including two majors – Wegmans LPGA Championship and Kraft Nabisco Championship – in 2012. The agreement is for five years.

The broadcasting company is making a major investment in its LPGA coverage and promotion of it. WOWOW plans to create season previews and reviews, highlight shows from each tournament, original player features and special programming before the tour’s major championships. WOWOW also is committing a crew and reporter to each LPGA event it broadcasts. The company’s coverage mix will include events from Asia, North America and Europe.

“The tremendous popularity of Japanese players Ai Miyazato, Mika Miyazato and Momoko Ueda, as well as other top Rolex Rankings players Yani Tseng, Cristie Kerr, Suzann Pettersen and Jiyai Shin, will provide the fuel for WOWOW to elevate its promotion and marketing of the LPGA Tour to create an even stronger fan base in the country,” said Mike Whan, LPGA commissioner.

In October, WOWOW increased its presence to three HD channels; the LPGA coverage will be one of the centerpieces of its “Live” channel and also will be replayed for viewer convenience. The broadcasting company has been increasing its sports programming, which has included all four Grand Slam tennis championships, soccer and boxing. It also recently completed a deal with the NBA to broadcast its upcoming season.

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