The PGA Tour just announced a tie-up with Netflix to produce a behind-the-scenes series, along the lines of F1: Drive to Survive, which gets credited for exposing F1 to a new, younger audience.
Golf does slightly suffer from the same challenge as F1, with not that many opportunities to really get to know the players, who can look a bit interchangeable underneath their ubiquitous branded caps.
So this should be interesting, especially with some of the bigger names down to take part.
What lies behind this strategy, from a PGA point of view?
Well, golf does have a bit of an age problem. GWI data has the global PGA Tour audience as one of the oldest amongst all sports, with an average age of almost 37 years (note: this only covers 16-64 year-olds so in reality in might be a bit older than that).
This is not dramatically older than other sports, but I’m sure the PGA Tour would like to see that come down by a couple of years to protect its future fanbase. I’ve included esports and gaming here, because the battle for the attention of 16-34s is increasingly not going to come from other sports, but from these areas.
On the other hand, older fans does tend to mean wealthier fans, which is why the PGA Tour can attract so many corporate sponsors, and has a really strong media value ($700m per year in the US alone is not bad for a tour followed by just 3.1% of people globally).
PGA Tour fans are clear leaders in terms of how many of them are in the high or highest income segments.
So the PGA Tour will want to hang on to that lucrative, older audience, while also growing for the future.
Netflix definitely makes sense as a channel to reach the younger audience – 75% of 18-34s in the US (and 80% in the UK) have access to it.
Ironically, there’s also probably a play here for Netflix in using golf to bring in more older viewers. As this article highlights, Netflix has almost reached saturation point among younger viewers, and needs to pull in some more of the grey-haired brigade.
So this feels like a win-win, and as a 47 year old golf obsessive with a Netflix subscription, I’ll definitely be watching.