evision, the media and entertainment division of the e& Emirati technology and investment group, has launched a dedicated golf channel in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) following the acquisition of a swathe of major golf rights in the region.
The GolfLife channel will be available in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on eLife TV, the streaming service offered by e&’s telecoms provider Etisalat, and the associated Switch TV platform also offered by Etisalat, as well as across MENA on the Starzplay Arabia streaming service, which is part-owned by e&.
The channel, which will be an expansion of the existing Golf Life content and TV series brand, will launch in time for the upcoming Ryder Cup in September.
It will broadcast 24/7 and will be primarily focused on showing live golf but with “ancillary golf programming” too. The aim is for the channel to become a platform for showcasing golf activities and initiatives from across the region.
In an announcement yesterday (January 10), e& said the new channel was part of its vision to become “a leading entertainment provider in the [MENA] region.”
Olivier Bramly, chief executive of evision said: “Golf as a sport is experiencing a boom in popularity across the MENA region, and the new GolfLife channel will give fans unparalleled and exclusive access to the sport they love via eLife, Switch TV, and Starzplay packages and platforms.
“The channel will also be made available to other operators across the region to ensure we can reach as many fans as possible. We are entering a big year for golf with the Ryder Cup taking place in September and the PGA Tour returning to a calendar-year schedule that showcases the best players in the world, which makes this the perfect time to launch this brand new dedicated golf channel in the region,”
The launch was precipitated by e&’s acquisition of exclusive rights in MENA to US golf’s PGA Tour and the DP World Tour (formerly the European Tour) in 2023 and 2024, the 2023 edition of the Ryder Cup biennial men’s competition between the US and Europe, and the 2024 Presidents Cup men’s competition between the US and an International Team.
E&’s moves follow the recent restructuring of the international rights agreement between the PGA Tour and Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), which saw the multinational media and entertainment giant hand back to the tour coverage rights in Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and areas in Europe and Latin America not covered by WBD’s Discovery+ streaming service and Eurosport channel.
That followed the shuttering of WBD’s GolfTV international subscription streaming service a month earlier, with WBD having said its change of strategy was driven “driven by a broader evolution in the media sector and changing consumer consumption habits, as the focus shifts from niche services such as GolfTV to broader and scaled streaming offerings.”
Rick Anderson, chief media officer of the PGA Tour, commented: “The PGA Tour is excited to partner with evision and reach fans in the MENA region on eLife, Switch TV, and Starzplay. Fans can expect an exciting year as the PGA Tour moves towards a calendar-year schedule that features top players competing more often and heightened importance on positioning for the Race for the FedExCup. We look forward to showcasing the best players and biggest moments in golf to fans in the Middle East and North Africa.”
Keith Pelley, chief executive of the European Tour Group, which owns the DP World Tour, added: “With our season-long ‘Race to Dubai Rankings’ in partnership with Rolex, the Middle East continues to be a core focal point for the DP World Tour and home to three of our Rolex Series events.
“With the launch of a new channel dedicated to world-class golf in time for a busy year that includes the Ryder Cup, I know that evision will be an excellent partner and provide a first-class broadcast experience to fans across the region.”