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Golf coverage

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Michael_ Gee, Jul 27, 2008.

  1. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    The list of my friends and acquaintances who have become former golf writers in 2008 keeps growing. Newspapers, as a body, have decided that golf is one sport they don't need to cover on a regular basis as long as Doug Ferguson is alive.
    I don't get it. The cost-benefit analysis does not compute. Golf is admittedly a niche sport, but that niche is inhabited by, on the whole, well-to-do men, a demographic advertisers lust for. Hell, most newspaper major advertisers PLAY golf.
    Costs are minimal compared to other sports. Four major tournaments a year, all at sites selected well in advance, meaning air travel as cheap as can be expected, even to Great Britain. All the rest, the nuts and bolts that really matter, are as local as the cheapest suit could desire.
    PLUS, it's the sport with the best-known and most popular athlete extant.
    DOUBLE PLUS. Golf fans have someplace else to go if they think your coverage sucks. There are many, many periodicals devoted to the sport. Most of them seem to contain a lot of ads, too.
    So granting the premise the paper can't afford to cover everything, (Which I don't) why cut this?
     
  2. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    Because most die-hard golf fans spend their free time playing golf and don't have time to read a newspaper?
     
  3. pressmurphy

    pressmurphy Member

    Aside from the airfare, you're also covering hotel costs -- which I assure you won't be discounted, and for which you'll likely have to pay for a seven-day minimum stay even if your guy only sleeps there for four. Maybe the writer gets by without a rental car, but he still has to eat. Food plus lodging for the four tourneys (for which there may be one or two local connections at the most for many papers, especially in the rust belt) will exceed $5,000.

    If it comes down to spending that much on golf or being sure that we can send a reporter/columnist/photog team to the first two weekends of NCAA hoops to cover Nearby U., I'll take basketball every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
     
  4. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    Well, the idea would be that there's an economic incentive to cover golf, not take away from the other.

    It remains big for us, but it's a whole different kind of deal.
     
  5. pressmurphy

    pressmurphy Member

    I think the only "economic incentive" to factor into the decision-making process is whether coverage of **local** golf will attract more advertising from local courses and the ancillary categories (sporting goods retailers and manufacturers, bars and restaurants, phsyical therapists, etc.).

    I don't think you can move the needle financially on national professional coverage by substituting your own writer for AP or another wire service. The costs associated with traveling would put almost all small and mid-sized papers into a pretty deep hole. Even some of the bigger papers might not turn enough incremental revenue to make it worthwhile, I'm afraid.
     
  6. Moondoggy

    Moondoggy Member

    And maybe they just decided that golf is generally boring, unless Tiger in the the tournament. Even then you'll get the same information that Doug Ferguson does.
     
  7. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    Golf, tennis and outdoors activities are three things that can be covered on the "hyper-local" angle so many managers want to see today.

    Eliminating high expenses to cover the British Open or scale back PGA Tour coverage makes financial sense. Eliminating the writers who know about these things intimately and have a readership does not make sense.
     
  8. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

    food costs are minimal at the U.S. Open, PGA and Masters, since you can eat breakfast and lunch there. The PGA usually has 2-3 social functions each night the week of the tournament, so there's no expense there, if you go to the parties. The Masters beefed up their food for the media this year (they don't just throw out the sandwiches any more).

    But the USGA and PGA of America soak you on hotels. There's never on-site parking any longer, so to get one of the shuttles to the course, you have to stay at one of the media hotels, and any more it's $250 or more a night. You can always stay off-site and drive to the media hotel to catch a shuttle, but then you'd have to rent a car.
     
  9. Montezuma's Revenge

    Montezuma's Revenge Active Member

    Oh, you can cover these things hyper-locally, all right.

    It's just that nobody will give a fuck.

    I know golf readers don't come close to the numbers in the marquee sports. But the golf readers are the advertisers' wet dreams, and newspapers have screwed this one up.

    Surprise, surprise.
     
  10. joe_schmoe

    joe_schmoe Active Member

    And besides, Doug does a great job with it. He's one of the few AP writers that I think does quality work at least 95 percent of the time
     
  11. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

    And the main reason golf gets cut: it's not football.
     
  12. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Hondo, I think golf is being cut because a lot of Republicans like to play it and the liberal media elite is out to screw them at every turn and deprive them of every one of their pleasures in life.
     
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