Golf Channel ( Golf Channel )

Golf Channel

Golf Channel's picture

In early 1990, cable-entrepreneur Joseph E. Gibbs began his quest to launch a 24-hour golf network. As fate would have it, that same year Gibbs opened up his Birmingham, Ala., home to host one of the pros playing in the PGA Championship. That pro was none other than The King himself, Arnold Palmer. An immediate friendship developed between the two and that bond sparked the idea that became the GOLF CHANNEL.

“Getting to know Arnold was when I realized how great this game of golf really is,” Gibbs said. “Walking with Arnold on the golf course, I saw how much the people loved him and loved being around him. That impressed and overwhelmed me.”

Gibbs, who already had built three successful cable and communication companies, had the business experience to launch a network. But Gibbs knew his inexperience in golf and the lack of connections within the golf industry would hamper his ability to get his idea off the ground. Arnold would prove to be the key!

In February ’93, Gibbs and Palmer publicly announced their plans to launch GOLF CHANNEL at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. They began raising capital through multiple sources including six of the country’s leading cable operators. The cable operator investment not only infused necessary capital to keep the business going, it brought with it one of the most important keys to a fledgling cable network’s success – distribution.

GOLF CHANNEL was launched on January 17, 1995, and was the first fully digital production facility in the United States. GOLF CHANNEL recruited an experienced management team, an expert lineup of broadcasters and developed a varied programming schedule. In its first year, GOLF CHANNEL televised 23 domestic tournaments and 41 European and Australian events.