Golf Channel Swings for Viewers

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The Golf Channel launched its largest affiliate promotional campaign to date earlier this month, centered around a national online consumer sweepstakes.

The first prize is a trip to Kiawah Island, S.C., and the chance to play a round of golf with former National Football League star quarterback John Elway.

Elway and other sports stars and entertainers will participate in the "Delta/ Maxfli Celebrity Challenge," which Golf will televise live Sept. 25.

Participating affiliates that run 200 or more cross-channel spots in support of the sweepstakes are themselves entered into the sweepstakes. The winning affiliate gets a trip to Kiawah Island, as well, along with a chance to golf alongside an as-yet-unnamed celebrity.

Among the celebrities participating on the tour are Major League Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench, retired Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino and several of the acting Baldwin brothers.

Golf had already signed 40 affiliates to the campaign in the first 10 days of the promotion, managing director of local ad sales, new media and new markets Chuck Conner said. Affiliates can continue to sign up through Aug. 8.

Affiliates can also help to attract advertisers as local sweepstakes sponsors. Local auto dealers, for example, can provide entry forms at point-of-purchase displays in their showrooms.

"We want to become as valuable an asset to the system as we can," Conner said, "and this is one way to do that."

Because Golf so closely targets upscale audiences, the local promotional sponsorship is a "fantastic" opportunity for automotive, technology and financial-services advertisers, Conner said.

"We appeal to the most affluent demographic out there," he added, noting that the audience doesn't always watch much other television.

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