Why bother? Back 9 Network doesn’t even complete Front 9; suspends operations

Last night, John Maggines asked on his PGA Tour Network radio show whether the Back 9 Network had the shortest tenure of any new channel?

While the answer appears to be no, the Back 9 seems to be right up there.

Just in case you were wondering what happened to Ahmad Rashad (above video). Apparently, his presence wasn’t enough to save the Back 9 Network.

Monday, the Back 9 Network announced it was suspending operations after less than six months on the air. It issued this statement:

“Due to a temporary shortfall in capital, Back9Network has suspended its operations. Management and the board of directors are planning next steps and will continue their efforts to secure long-term, operating capital. The company will keep the public informed with any new developments.”

Maggines, who hosted a show on the Back 9, was among those blown out Monday. He has reason to be upset.

When the Back 9 Network debuted in late September on DirecTV, it billed its focus on the lifestyle of golf. Said Scot Thor, Senior VP of Programming:

“While we will certainly pay attention to professional golf’s leaderboard, our coverage will focus on the lifestyle of the game where golf enthusiasts are spending their time and money — the courses and resorts they can play, the latest fashion, gadgets and equipment, and the behind-the-scenes stories that will highlight the personalities and characters that make golf so much fun. We’re dedicated to introducing lifestyle entertainment to the game of golf while respecting its values and traditions, and we’ve brought on some incredibly talented people to emphasize the depth, humility and humor in the game.”

At best, this concept was going to be extremely challenging to pull off. You see, there’s something called the Golf Channel, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary. For all the talk about lifestyle, golf fans tune in primarily to watch tournaments. The Back 9 Network didn’t have any tournaments.

However, if Back 9 execs were motivated to try, they needed to give their concept much more time. It took the Golf Channel several years to finally gain a foothold.

If the money wasn’t there for Back 9 to make that kind of commitment, then why bother? It seems as if the network tried to play the toughest course in the world with only an 8-iron in the bag.






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