Report: Kathryn Tappen becomes latest NBC Golf exit
The winter of change for NBC Golf continues.
Kathryn Tappen, the interviewer and host, will not be returning to NBC’s golf coverage in 2023, according to a report from Geoff Shackelford’s Quadrilateral newsletter. She has been involved with the network’s golf coverage for less than a year, working as lead interviewer at some of NBC Golf’s biggest events in 2022, including the U.S. Open, Open Championship and Presidents Cup.
Tappen, who joined the network’s golf coverage in 2022 after years as a football and hockey reporter and host, will be succeeded by remaining members of NBC’s golf crew, including longtime interviewer/hosts Cara Banks and Damon Hack. She marks the latest exit in a tumultuous winter for NBC’s golf broadcast, which has also parted ways with longtime analysts Gary Koch and Roger Maltbie in a broad reshuffling of the network’s on-air product.
Tappen’s exit comes at a time of budgetary constraint at NBC, which has already slashed jobs in its sports division and is expected to undergo a series of layoffs in the new year. Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported that Comcast — NBC’s parent company — is seeking to cut some $1 billion from the budgets of NBCUniversal’s TV networks in an effort to raise more money for other parts of its business. Golf Channel, which is also owned by NBC, underwent significant layoffs as recently as 2019, when executives moved the network from its Orlando headquarters to Stamford, Conn.
While NBC’s PGA Tour and USGA rights deals represent more than $500 million in outgoing costs annually, neither contract is believed to be a loss-lender for the network, which has benefitted from passthrough advertising revenues and relatively strong ratings in addition to a favorable climate for live sports broadcasts. Further, NBC’s latest agreement with the PGA Tour stipulates that the Tour cover the majority of week-to-week production expenses.
Still, it has been a strange golf “offseason” for NBC, which has not traditionally undergone as much on-air roster shuffling as we’ve seen already in 2022. It has not been reported if any other on-air figures will not be returning to the network in 2023, though a handful of additions have already been named. Last week, Golfweek reported that Smylie Kaufman, Curt Byrum and Brad Faxon are expected to join the network’s golf coverage in 2023.