Torstar, Golf Town partner to acquire ScoreGolf Magazine

Torstar Corporation has partnered with Canadian sporting retailer Golf Town to acquire golf publication ScoreGolf Magazine and related assets. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In addition to the print publication, the acquisition includes, as well as the company’s TV and video content production assets and annual golf course ranking, for which Golf Town has been a presenting sponsor. ScoreGolf publisher Kim Locke will stay on with the publication, which launched in 1980.

Frederick Lecoq, chief marketing officer at Sporting Life Group (which includes the Golf Town and Sporting Life banners), called ScoreGolf a “great golf content factory” that will help the retailer achieve its growing content marketing objectives as it shifts from a campaign-driven approach to an always-on model powered by snackable content.

Lecoq employed a similar approach in his previous marketing capacity with SportChek, often partnering with TSN to produce content for its various channels. ScoreGolf, he said, effectively becomes Golf Town’s content agency, providing the retailer with access to its robust content creation capabilities.

“Just like any brand today is using those big marketing agencies like Havas or TBWA, my agency is called ScoreGolf,” he said. “We’re not going into the publishing business, we’re actually investing in content production capability.”

Torstar’s newly appointed chief client officer, Michael Beckerman, said that the deal not only taps into a growing content vertical, but is an extension of a longstanding advertising partnership between the two companies. Discussions around the deal arose several months ago, part of what he described as the media company’s “relentless effort” to elevate the quality of Torstar’s content.

“We were talking about the opportunities for a leadership position within a fast-growing vertical like golf, and what could a combined Golf Town/Torstar do,” said Beckerman. “It got to be a very exciting conversation in terms of what we could do across all of our platforms from a content perspective—whether it’s tips to improve play or equipment rankings and insights.”

Beckerman said that the golfing demographic is one that is “highly sought after” by advertisers, with the transaction providing an opportunity to develop integrated sales solutions. “Whether it’s consumer packaged goods, or automotive or telco, we’re going to have some really nice cross-platform opportunities for advertisers to reach an important audience,” he said.

The company will also boost its editorial commitment to golf across its various properties, including its daily and community newspapers and associated digital assets. The companies also plan to explore additional content opportunities at VerticalScope, a collection of more than 1,400 community forums in which Torstar owns a majority interest, and the Chinese language newspaper Sing Tao.

Opportunities also exist to develop ancillary products and services such as booking sites for tee times as well as potential golf travel-related ventures. “This is about a really deep commitment to golf content across platforms,” said Beckerman.

Chris Powell