Discovery Acquires Golf Digest, Expanding Its Dominance in the Sport

May 15, 2019

By Spencer Feingold

Discovery Inc. announced this week that it acquired Golf Digest ー its latest addition to the company's growing portfolio of golf brands. The purchase follows Discovery's major agreement last year with the PGA Tour that gave the mass media conglomerate multi-platform live rights on golf content outside the U.S. for 12 years.

We are trying to “create an ecosystem around golf,” Alex Kaplan, president and general manager of Discovery Golf, told Cheddar in an interview Wednesday. We want “to become a one stop shop for golf fans all over the world.”

The purchase of Golf Digest from the publishing giant Condé Nast now gives Discovery ($DISCA) a significant foothold in U.S. golf market. The monthly magazine reaches nearly 5 million readers and has over 2 million social media followers. Its digital videos receive around 60 million views monthly.

Founded in 1950, Golf Digest was first bought by The New York Times Co. in 1967 and sold to Condé Nast in 2001. The magazine said it began pursuing new ownership nine months ago after Condé Nast shifted its focus to its core style and culture brands.

“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,” Jerry Tarde, Golf Digest’s editor-in-chief, said in a statement. Tarde — who has been a top editor at Golf Digest since 1984 — will now also serve as global head of strategy and content at Discovery Golf.

Following the acquisition, Golf Digest's multi-platform content will be distributed around the world on Discovery’s GOLFTV and the various PGA Tour platforms. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Since its founding in 1985, Discovery has grown to be the third-largest media corporation in the U.S., delivering over 8,000 hours of programming a year. Around the world, the company broadcasts in over 200 countries and territories and in 50 languages.

Discovery is best known for its real-life entertainment brands, such as HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Animal Planet, and Travel Channel, but has made a concerted push into global sports — especially golf.

“If you love golf, whether you are in Europe, China, South Korea, anywhere in the world where you love golf, we own most of it, if not all of it,” Discovery’s CEO David Zaslav told Cheddar in April.

Kaplan added on Wednesday that the company aims to take “super fan verticals,” like golf, and bring them into the modern environment of digital mass media. “If we can create and aggregate all of these super fans everywhere in the world, the opportunities are really huge for us,” he said.

Discovery has also employed star power to secure its hold over golf. The company inked exclusive content partnerships with the legendary Tiger Woods and the Italian golf champion Francesco Molinari.

Purchasing Golf Digest “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,” Woods said in a statement.

The acquisition comes just days ahead of the PGA Tour Championship at the Bethpage Black Course in New York.

For full interview click here.