Comcast has been the majority owner of Golf Channel since 2000 and the full owner of the network since 2003, and the Comcast acquisition of NBC in 2011 put Golf Channel under the NBC Sports banner, but the channel has still been quite distinct from NBC’s other sports properties since then, with some of that coming from geographical separation. NBC Sports has been headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut since 2013, but Golf Channel has been based in Orlando, Florida since its 1995 launch. Now, though, NBC is relocating the Golf Channel headquarters to Connecticut, as the No Laying Up podcast first reported Friday:
Getting reports that Golf Channel informed employees today that the entire operation would be relocating from Orlando to Stamford, CT, (home of NBC Sports HQ) in the next 12 months.
— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) February 28, 2020
Ryan Glasspiegel of The Big Lead has more, including a NBC statement:
“Our aim is to be as transparent as possible with our employees, therefore as we began this process we informed teams today that some of our media operations will be transitioning to new locations over the next year or more,” a Golf Channel spokesperson tells The Big Lead. “Geographic consolidation is a growing and sensible trend across the media industry, and as our business continues to evolve, we’ll continue to look for ways to operate as effectively as possible to deliver world-class coverage to our loyal audiences.”
As Glasspiegel notes, it’s not currently clear what this means for Golf Channel employees, with many not expected to learn their future until late April. It certainly seems that not everyone who currently works there will be willing to relocate from Florida to Connecticut, though. But it’s perhaps notable that this comes in the wake of Golf Channel executive producer Molly Solomon (who’s held that role since 2012) being named to oversee NBC’s 2020 Olympic coverage back in November 2019. That announcement indicated that Solomon would retain her role as executive producer of Golf Channel as well, and it would certainly seem easier for her to do that if Golf Channel’s headquarters are now next to the rest of NBC’s operations.
There’s obviously some logic for large companies like Comcast/NBC/NBC Sports in centralizing their operations, and in having their various divisions in relative physical proximity to each other. However, there are also some obvious challenges from big relocations like this, and it’s notable that some other sports media companies have gone away from the centralization model, with ESPN in particular having more and more shows and executives based in New York or Los Angeles rather than their Bristol, CT headquarters. We’ll see how this relocation works out for NBC and Golf Channel.