Portland Open, DGPT Championship to air on ESPN2; additional events lined up.
June 30, 2021 by Charlie Eisenhood in News with comments
Following last year’s broadcast of the Disc Golf Pro Tour Championship, the DGPT has signed a new contract with ESPN for national distribution of select events, including both the Portland Open and the 2021 DGPT Championship, the Tour announced today.
The first broadcast — a two-hour show covering the Portland Open — is coming up on ESPN2 on August 4th at 8 PM Eastern.
“I think it’s good for the sport to be shown on multiple broadcasting platforms,” said DGPT CEO Jeff Spring. “We’re still locked in to the bread and butter media plan that is working well [with DGN and post-production partners]. But the more that we can get onto ESPN and national platforms, the better.”
Like for last fall’s ESPN2 airing, DGN producers along with Joe Canali of Bluefoot Entertainment will create the two-hour post-produced shows, with broadcast footage coming from media partners including Jomez Productions, Gatekeeper Media, and GK Pro. “Our goal is to put something new and compelling out there for disc golf fans who have already watched the competition,” said Spring. “So it’s entertaining for brand new viewers of the sport and disc golf fans.”
The DGPT saw the Portland Open as a good fit for a national broadcast because the event is owned and operated by the Pro Tour. Beyond that and the Championship, there is another broadcast, as of yet unannounced, that is confirmed, along with discussions about multiple other events. For now, the plan is for ESPN2 to air the shows, though the Tour is “hopeful in the future” to get airtime on ESPN, the largest cable sports network and #4 overall cable channel in average viewership.1
This year’s ESPN deal is broader both in scope and in monetary value to the tour: the DGPT will have more advertising slots available to sell.
The DGPT is also looking to expand its national television partnerships with networks outside of ESPN. Last year, the Dynamic Discs Open aired on CBS Sports Network, though that deal was largely brokered by Dynamic Discs, not the DGPT. Dynamic Discs will be a presenting sponsor of the Portland Open coverage. “We’re thrilled to be a leading partner in the effort to grow disc golf on a national level once again,” said Dynamic Discs owner Jeremy Rusco said in a statement. “This type of exposure only serves to help bolster the continued growth of the sport.”
As disc golf continues to grow, Spring expects there to be increasing interest from broadcasters in showing disc golf on their networks. “This contract shows that, in regards to national broadcasting, disc golf is not just a filler for a lack of pandemic-era sports programming, but instead a valuable asset that draws significant viewership with compelling content,” he said. “The ESPN programming schedule is busier than ever with sports leagues from across the world coming back online and we’re excited to be a part of it.”
Live viewership of the PDGA Pro World Championships online during the final round on Saturday reached all-time highs in both MPO and FPO.