Golf Channel, fans angry at move

JOHN HERBERT -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:38 AM ET

Not everyone is convinced Rogers Cable pulled the plug on the Golf Channel because Madonna is more popular than Mike Weir.

Last Thursday, Rogers moved the Golf Channel to digital, requiring customers to upgrade with digital equipment to continue receiving it.

Last month, Rogers Cable spokesperson Taanta Gupta said the move was being made because MTV has broader market appeal. What Rogers didn't reveal was it knew the Golf Channel was picking up ratings-boosting live PGA Tour events in 2007.

London golfer Gord Hume, London golf pro Mike Kilkenny and the Golf Channel itself aren't satisfied.

Hume, a Sunningdale member, said he's calling Ted Rogers to complain.

In a letter to The Free Press, Kilkenny said he believed Rogers was being opportunistic, looking for a way to "raise the rates."

The Golf Channel said in an e-mail to The Free Press yesterday it is not pleased.

Rogers vice-president and general manager of television services Dave Purdy said the Golf Channel was getting very poor ratings -- among the lowest of the 64 channels -- and research showed most people interested in golf already had digital boxes.

"Our research indicated while golf has loyal fans, the ratings are quite low," Purdy said.

He said he was aware of the the Golf Channel's plans when Rogers made its decision.

"We are extremely disappointed by the Rogers Cable move," said Dan Higgins, managing director of public relations for the Golf Channel. "We are the exclusive cable home of the tour and will be for 15 years. The only other place you will be able to see the PGA Tour action is on CBS and NBC."

The Golf Channel will carry 48 tournaments in 2007. Most of those will be primarily the Thursday and Friday rounds.

Rogers will upgrade customers to digital at no cost for a year by calling 1-866-823-3426.

Complaints can be e-mailed to cablemedia.relations@rci.rogers.com.


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