What oversupply looks like


Our industry has too many golf courses and too few golfers.”

Jim Koppenhaver of Pellucid Corp gave his annual state of the nation address at the PGA Merchandise Show on Saturday.

Not for the faint hearted.

We continue to see progress, if that’s the correct term, on the supply side. The total inventory of U.S. courses has dropped each year since 2006, and the decline has accelerated the past four years, with an average of 137 closings since 2011. That might seem like a lot, but Koppenhaver estimated that the industry is still “about five years away from getting any kind of equilibrium.” In other words, his best estimate is that another 700 courses need to close based on declining consumer demand.

And that’s the bigger problem. For all of the industry rhetoric about “growing the game,” there’s little or no evidence that we’re doing that.

Consider that in November 2000, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, normally the most cautious of men, set the fanciful goal that by 2020, there would be 50 million American golfers playing 1 billion rounds annually. In 2000, about 518 million rounds were played in the U.S., and there was some reason for optimism given that rounds had grown 15 percent over the previous decade. But that was the high-water mark. In 2014, about 451 million rounds were played in the U.S., bringing us back to the 1990 level.

via GOLFWEEK | Jim Koppenhaver’s PGA Show presentation says there’s too many golf courses, too few golfers.

Photo Credit: Curtis Gregory Perry via Compfight cc

Open season


Sky v BBC. Subscription v Free to air. Young v old. The R&A’s sale of TV rights to Sky was always going to divide opinion. Some background on Peter Dawson’s decision making process here. It’s a sign of something that many national newspapers don’t have a specialist golf correspondent, but two of Britain’s most-read – James Corrigan of the Telegraph and Derek Lawrenson of the Daily Mail – have come out fighting. Continue reading Open season

“News is a stream”

Never a truer word said (by Jeff Jarvis in this instance).

For news we can substitute many other types of stories. They evolve naturally. The medium can help that process or hinder it.

News is a stream of events, questions (and sometimes answers), debate, increasing information, and evolving understanding. News became a product only because it had to — to fit into publishers’ and then broadcasters’ space and time and production schedules. Now news can revert to nature. News never starts. It never ends. In the image of technology pioneer Dave Winer, news is a river. It flows.

via Process Over Product: Adding Value to the Flow of News — Geeks Bearing Gifts — Medium.

What’s going on with Unofficial Partner and StoryStream?


I’ve started working with StoryStream. It’s a loose collaboration at this stage but we’re excited about where it might lead. They are a tech company with a number of very big and posh clients. I’m in to the editorial, storytelling and content thing. Working together broadens both our offers. It adds editorial expertise to StoryStream’s product portfolio and gives what I do a dimension beyond the day rate consultancy model.

More broadly the alliance allows me to pursue a few threads that have been nagging away for a while. Some thoughts on this below. Continue reading What’s going on with Unofficial Partner and StoryStream?

Breaking: Turns out that those pesky Millennials like complex stuff. Who knew?


Millennials don’t like cricket/golf/anything complex. The shorter the better, the less ‘difficult’ we can make sport, the more the audience will be able to ‘engage’. We always knew it was bullshit but it doesn’t stop sports administrators taking this wonky received wisdom and running with it. The Twentification of sport has been the theme of the last decade. Push any sport in to a football sized hole and hope for the best.

It’s a theory I suppose. But this Vice piece on the appeal of the Football Manager computer game franchise seems to get in the way. Complexity and Millennials seem to get on fine. Continue reading Breaking: Turns out that those pesky Millennials like complex stuff. Who knew?

What did you do today? How sport and social media can help save lives


Loneliness is a killer. So it’s great to see a really creative piece of work using social media that lives up to its name. Continue reading What did you do today? How sport and social media can help save lives

The European incentive

3481844315_d085d06d8cIan Poulter has a book out and has changed his club and shoe sponsor. It’s worth noting that his brand value is almost entirely derived from his association with the Ryder Cup. There are no majors on his CV. No WGCs, no orders of merit or Races to Dubai.

This gets to a bigger question. Continue reading The European incentive

What David Collier tells us about the sports business


Outgoing ECB chief exec David Collier was on the radio this morning, attempting to protect his legacy from being hijacked by Kevin Pietersen’s revelations from inside the England dressing room. Collier leaves England cricket’s governing body a wealthier, more ‘business-like’ place. But I’m wondering if there is something else we need to learn from his tenure at the top, an era defined more than anything else by the rise of Twenty20 cricket…

Continue reading What David Collier tells us about the sports business

The line between ESPN and NFL TV

What happens when a journalist criticises a sports property his employer has spent nearly $2billion a year on?
Grantland editor Bill Simmons criticised NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Grantland is owned by ESPN. It’s the ultimate test of journalistic integrity, and ESPN failed.
Good analysis in the New Yorker, with a good question buried in the middle: what’s the difference between a broadcaster with so invested in a sports property and an own brand TV channel? The answer is, not much. Continue reading The line between ESPN and NFL TV