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PGA Tour sign 9-year network extension

The PGA Tour announced Thursday is longest network television deal in history Thursday that secures broadcast rights for the next 10 years.

The tour agreed to a nine-year deal with CBS Sports and NBC Sports. PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said there was an increase in both rights fee and prize money.

Despite the economic crisis, the tour still managed to sign 10 new title sponsors of tournaments and renew contracts with 12 titles sponsors of other events.

The TV contract was the last outstanding deal to assure golf’s financial security and development.

"A 10-year runway gives our sponsors a lot of confidence in where the television side of the sport is going to be, and that helps us in terms of creating value for our sponsors, maintaining continuity with our sponsors and extending our sponsors into the future," Finchem said at the Deutsche Bank Championship.

"We're thrilled to extend for nine more years and to be in business for the next decade," said NBC Sports chairman Mark Lazarus. "The NBC Sports Group is obviously very bullish on the sport of golf and the PGA Tour. It's a business deal that makes sense for our company and will be profitable."

And this all without any assurance that Tiger Woods will ever return to the superlative form he once wielded.

"In our business plan, we did not assume any golfer was going to be as dominant as Tiger had been in the past," CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press.

"Tiger played in a relatively small number of PGA Tour events, anyway. It would be great if he came back. It would be great if we were dominant again. But we were not assuming that in our numbers."

Finchem said the agreements allow for new coverage that will include simulcast coverage of live coverage on websites of its broadcast partners, and perhaps even special coverage on Golf Channel as a tournament is live on NBC Sports.

Both are owned by Comcast.

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