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NBC launches new GolfPass subscription service

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Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland smiles and holds the tournament trophy while wearing a replica Arnold Palmer red cardigan following his three stroke victory on the 18th hole green in the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard at Bay Hill Club and Lodge on March 18, 2018 in Orlando, Florida.

Keyur Khamar | Getty Images

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland smiles and holds the tournament trophy while wearing a replica Arnold Palmer red cardigan following his three stroke victory on the 18th hole green in the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard at Bay Hill Club and Lodge on March 18, 2018 in Orlando, Florida.

NBC Sports’ Golf Channel is partnering with four-time major champion Rory McIlroy to debut a subscription service that will give customers one round of golf a month, more than 4,000 hours of instructional videos and discounts at resorts and clubs.

GolfPass, which NBC is officially launching on Tuesday, will cost $9.99 per month or $99 per year. It’s designed for people who already play golf but could use additional incentive to hit the links.

It’s NBC’s latest effort to seek revenue beyond the traditional pay-TV bundle by experimenting with a direct-to-consumer subscription. While GolfPass has Netflix-like elements, it’s a closer parallel to Amazon Prime, said Will McIntosh, Golf Channel’s executive vice president, at a press briefing in New York on Monday. The purpose is to encourage hobbyists to play more golf as well as giving them additional viewing options.

“It’s sort of like, for me, like Golf Channel 2.0,” McIlroy said at a press briefing Monday. “If you’re going to start a golf business, you probably wouldn’t do a 24-7 TV station or network like what happened 25 years ago.”

Included in the package is a round of golf each month at one of 7,000 global golf courses that partner with online booking company GolfNow, which is also owned by NBCUniversal. They’ll receive a dozen golf balls from TaylorMade, a provider of equipment for McIlroy, and a variety of discounts on golf resorts, apparel and accessories.

While no live events will be broadcast on the GolfPass app, archived rounds and more than 4,000 on-demand instruction videos, including several from McIlroy and his coach, Michael Bannon, will be available to subscribers,

A premium membership, GolfPass+, costs $199 per year and includes additional benefits such as waived booking fees, cancellation protection and extra discounts.

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