Q&A: Finchem talks about Fox-USGA deal

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem ( Getty Images )

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem addressed the media Wednesday at the Deutsche Bank Championship, talking about a bevy of topics, from a global golf tour to the Presidents Cup. He also made his first comments about the mega-deal between Fox Sports and the USGA.

Here's a look at five questions he addressed about the deal, and the potential impact on the Tour:

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Can you talk about Fox? I know that the likelihood is that you probably wouldn't be commissioner when the next deal comes up, but how does that change the landscape down the road?

That's a long discussion; I mean, it's always nice to have multiple entities in the sport. There are positives, a few negatives, but there are positives. To have companies invested in the sport in any way results in more focus on the sport from those broadcast companies. For example ESPN, they had some programming, but they're more interested in what's going on because they have that programming. So there are a lot of different advantages. I think it's to our advantage long‑term. There will be some transition challenges there, but I think it's to your advantage long‑term to have them involved. We've talked to Fox a number of times in the last 10, 15 years, and we just never got to arrangement, but we know they have an interest.

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What kind of interest do they have? How do you measure it? Have you ever come close to anything with them?

I don't know how to really characterize that. We had serious, robust conversations in the middle of two of the negotiations in the last three. And mainly – one of the main issues with them is scheduling. I mean, they have a lot of baseball. They have a lot of NASCAR. They have stuff, given the way Fox is set up. And we really like our two-network arrangement right now anyways.

• • •

Did you have any concern about their ability to handle golf, considering they've never done it before?

Well, it's going to be a work in progress. They've got to build a capability there, working with the USGA, and I'm sure they will. But I don't know if concern is the right word. They're professionals. They do an excellent job in producing the other sports that they have. I'm sure they'll get the talent together to do a good job for the USGA, but it will be interesting to see what happens when that lines out. When they get certain people in certain positions, we'll find out.

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What about the Fox House last week? They had a financial agreement with USGA. Those numbers kind of catch you up off guard with the size of them or reporting?

First of all, I don't react to numbers I see in the media. But I think that – I would assume that given the fact that FOX is building a new sports outlet that – and they're obviously spending money in other sports that the terms and the deal were very attractive to the USGA, particularly in light of the fact that NBC has done a very, very solid job with respect to the U.S. Open for a number of years, and the other properties that the USGA has. I'm sure that the financial part of that deal was very positive.

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What would you say about Greg Norman being in the booth, as an analyst?

I've talked to Greg a number of times; he'd be good at television. I don't think he has the interest in doing it. But I think he would be good at television. I think he's charismatic; he comes across good on the air; he's opinionated. But there are a lot of options out there. But I think he'd be good.

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