The first major tournament on the LPGA calendar, the Kraft Nabisco is this week and Golf Channel has announced a three year extension to air the Championship beginning in 2013.
Golf Channel took over the rights to the Kraft Nabisco, formerly known as the Dinah Shore Invitational from ESPN2/CBS in 2011. Before last year, three rounds aired on ESPN2 and the final round on CBS. Since then, Golf Channel has given the major four round coverage and increased viewership in each of the two years it has aired the tournament.
It also marks the first of two major LPGA tournaments on Golf Channel, the LPGA Championship being the other.
We have the announcement regarding the rights extension.
LPGA Tour’s First Major of the Year Exclusively on Golf Channel
Golf Channel to Air 35 Hours of Coverage Beginning with Wednesday’s LPGA Majors Golf Central Special
ORLANDO, Fla. (March 27, 2012) – Golf Channel and the LPGA Tour have agreed to an exclusive three- year extension of the network’s exclusive rights to the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the season’s first major championship. The joint announcement was made this week by LPGA Tour Commissioner Mike Whan and Golf Channel President Mike McCarley.
“Based on the strong promotional advertising, the incredible tournament coverage and ‘storytelling,’ and the record-high viewership results that occurred in 2011, we’re excited to partner with Golf Channel and continue showcasing the LPGA’s first major,” Whan said.
Golf Channel viewership for its inaugural coverage of the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2011 kicked off with the tournament’s highest-rated and most-watched first round in 18 years, which was followed by a second round that was the highest in 17 years. Golf Channel also aired 280 percent more hours of coverage than the previous year when the event aired on CBS and ESPN2 (34 hours in 2011 versus 9 hours in 2010). Average viewers for the entire tournament increased 29 percent from 2010 (511,000 on Golf Channel versus 395,000 on CBS/ESPN2).
Overall ratings for the LPGA Tour on Golf Channel in 2011 were up 30 percent over the previous year, helping fuel Golf Channel to its most-watched year in its 17-year history.
“Extending our exclusive partnership with the LPGA Tour and the Kraft Nabisco Championship is great for fans of the game and the excitement that the season’s first major championship brings,” McCarley said. “We’re looking forward to showcasing these compelling stories for our viewers and providing a home for the tournament for years to come.”
The Kraft Nabisco Championship is one of two LPGA Tour major championships airing exclusively on Golf Channel in 2012, also including the LPGA Championship (June 7-10). This week’s event will host an elite field, headlined by defending champion Stacy Lewis and current World No. 1 Yani Tseng, who already has won three times in 2012 and is seeking her sixth major title. Golf Channel will begin its coverage with a one-hour Golf Central Special Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET on the eve of the Kraft Nabisco Championship, kicking off the LPGA Majors season.
Golf Channel will air six hours of daily, live coverage Thursday and Friday from Noon-3 p.m. ET and 6:30-9:30 p.m. ET. Weekend coverage will air live from 4:30-8:30 p.m. ET. Kelly Tilghman will serve as Golf Channel host of each day’s telecast, while also conducting one-on-one interviews with players. Terry Gannon will handle play-by-play, joined by lead analyst and LPGA Hall-of-Famer Judy Rankin. Tom Abbott will call the action from a tower position on the golf course, with Jane Crafter, Phil Parkin and Jerry Foltz reporting from the ground. Scott Walker will conduct post-round interviews and report for Golf Central throughout the week. Golf Central also will precede all four rounds of the Kraft Nabisco Championship with half-hour preview shows featuring highlights, interviews and analysis.
Kraft Nabisco Championship Live Airtimes (all times Eastern)
Golf Central Special — 10-11 p.m. Live
Thursday and Friday
Golf Central Pre Game — 1:30 a.m.-Noon Live
Rounds 1/2 — Noon-3 p.m. Live
Golf Central — 6-6:30 p.m. Live
Rounds 1/2 — 6:30-9:30 p.m. Live
Rounds 1/2 — 1:30-4:30 a.m. Replay
Saturday and Sunday
Golf Central Pre Game — 4-4:30 p.m. Live
Rounds 3/4 — 4:30-8:30 p.m. Live
Rounds 3/4 – Midnight-4 a.m. Replay
That will do it.