US-based media group Discovery has announced the acquisition of Latin American Golf S.L., which operates the pay-television channel Golf Channel Latin America, from Simple Networks and Fornaluz Productions, an affiliate of private equity office Inversiones Bahia.
The channel currently reaches more than 10 million pay-television subscribers across 17 countries in the Latin American region.
The acquisition will give Discovery early access to PGA Tour content in the region, as the channel currently holds linear rights to the Tour until 2022. Discovery is due to take over the rights in Latin America in 2023 as part of a 12-year $2bn (€1.8bn) deal its struck in June 2018 to manage the PGA Tour’s international multi-platform rights, from 2019 to 2030.
From January 2020, the Discovery will be able to decide how to broadcast live coverage of the PGA Tour across Golf Channel Latin America and its subscription OTT platform GolfTV.
Fernando Medin, president Discovery Latin America/US Hispanic, said: “The incorporation of Golf Channel Latin America into Discovery’s portfolio will solidify our brand offering by adding golf to the already wide range of content we offer our viewers.”
Alex Kaplan, president and general manager, Discovery Golf, added: “As Discovery continues to grow its offering and engagement with golf fans around the world, we are excited to be expanding our offering in Latin America to supercharge our golf ambitions across the region.”
Golf Channel Latin America was created in 2006 when Argentinian sports entrepreneur Carlos Ávila, founder of the Torneos agency, agreed to acquire the Golf Channel licence from Comcast in 2005. Ávila partnered with pay-television broadcaster DirecTV in 2006 to form the channel, taking a 55-per-cent stake in the business.
AT&T acquired Golf Channel Latin America in 2014, and the channel was only acquired by Simple Networks, a company owned by former DirecTV executives Jason Markham and Evan Grayer, and Inversiones Bahia from telco AT&T in April 2018.
Markham, co-founder of Simple Networks has said: “Under the ownership and management of Simple Networks and Inversiones Bahia, Golf Channel Latin America grew its distribution by over one million households, increased value through key partnerships with broadcast sponsors and revamped production and operations.”
GolfTV also offers live coverage of the European Tour and Ladies European Tour in selected markets. In July, it secured rights in southeast Asia to the Open Championship.