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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Andreas Grabner, Liz McMillan, Dana Gardner, Elizabeth White, Cloud Best Practices Network

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Golf Channel Embraces Online Gaming Through New Partnership With WGT

World Golf Tour Will Offer Chance to Play the World's Best Courses, Challenge Friends and Win Prizes by Participating in Exclusive Tournaments and Sweepstakes

ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Through a new partnership with the WGT announced today, Golf Channel is taking steps to further embrace the online gaming community and provide its audience with another way to play golf at some of the most famous golf courses in the world through a virtual experience like no other.

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130118/FL44988 )

Beginning today, visitors to GolfChannel.com/virtualgolf  will be able to play free online golf and be invited to compete in the Golf Channel Virtual Tour, which – as part of World Golf Tour – offers members opportunities to play famous golf courses online for free, challenge their friends, improve their play with access to virtual golf equipment, and win prizes by entering exclusive tournaments and sweepstakes.

"The growth of online gaming has been impressive, and this partnership gives Golf Channel not only a new way to interact with a growing community of passionate golfers, but also offers another way for our viewers to enjoy the game in a relevant and authentic way," said Mike McCarley, President of Golf Channel.  "As the best-in-class among online golf gaming platforms, World Golf Tour offers our users unmatched service and experience. And to have the experience to compete against the team from Morning Drive is a unique opportunity only Golf Channel and the World Golf Tour can provide."

The Golf Channel Virtual Tour will be promoted both online and on air, with Golf Channel's popular morning show, Morning Drive, taking the lead.  Co-hosts, including Gary Williams and Holly Sonders, will talk about their favorite WGT courses, favorite holes and may even compete against each other virtually.  World Golf Tour also will offer virtual avatars of Morning Drive's hosts, providing another way for Golf Channel commentators to interact with their fans.  The first avatar of Holly Sonders already is available as part of the free signup. Currently, World Golf Tour can be played online with a web browser or via a mobile app available for iPhone or iPad.

"We are thrilled to bring World Golf Tour to the Golf Channel family," commented YuChiang Cheng, co-founder and chief executive officer, WGT.  "Both companies have large audiences of golfers, so there's a natural fit for customers and great cross-marketing opportunities."

WGT reports that 94 percent of their more than 6 million registered users also play real-world golf.  Users spend more than 35 minutes per online visit, playing a long list of famous courses like The Old Course at St. Andrews Links, Oakmont Country Club, The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Bethpage Black, Royal St. George's Golf Club, Congressional Country Club, and The Olympic Club, host of the 2012 U.S. Open Championship.  Each course is captured in high definition photography from myriad angles, which provides gamers with a real-life golfing experience.

About WGT

Based in San Francisco, WGT develops the most realistic and engaging online social sports games.  The flagship title, World Golf Tour, is the #1 online golf game with more than 6 million registered players and more than 250 million virtual rounds played.  In 2012, WGT launched WGT Baseball:  MLB on Facebook, in partnership with Major League Baseball.  WGT Baseball:  MLB is a free, realistic baseball game on Facebook that puts fans inside their favorite MLB ballparks in HD virtual reality.  More at www.WGT.com.

About Golf Channel

As the fastest-growing network on television, Golf Channel is a multimedia, golf entertainment and services company based in Orlando, Fla.  The Golf Channel cable network, co-founded by Arnold Palmer in 1995 and part of the NBC Sports Group, is available in more than 120 million homes worldwide through cable, satellite and wireless companies.  Exclusive partnerships with the world's top tours allow Golf Channel to feature more live golf coverage than all other networks combined, added to a programming schedule distinguished by golf's best news, instruction and original programming.  Golf Channel's digital platform of businesses is led by www.GolfChannel.com, a leading golf destination on the Internet, delivering unmatched coverage of the world of golf, as well as services that help the recreational player with how to play, what to play and where to play golf.

-NBC Sports Group-

SOURCE Golf Channel

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