09 Apr The Caddie Network – A fresh voice to the world of golf

Rowayton and Greenwich residents John von Stade and Merrill Squires of Accelerated Growth Partners are  bringing a fresh a voice to golf, The Caddie Network. TCN explores  the whole world of caddying, even at the grassroots level, to drive home the important roles that caddies play in the growth of the game, the life experiences for young people that caddying can provide and explain the educational opportunities for young people through caddying.

Through TCN, caddies — like never before — have the chance to tell their stories through both video and written content with a first-ever digital platform dedicated to their experiences.

With engaging features, surveys, photos, videos and more, TCN brings you a step closer to the best seat in the house and gives you a deeper appreciation for what life truly is like out on the Tour.

The Network already boasts more than 160 participating professional caddies from the PGA and LPGA Tours, including Michael Greller (Jordan Spieth), Adam Hayes (Jon Rahm), Tim Mickelson (Phil Mickelson), Jimmy Johnson (Justin Thomas), Joe Skovron (Rickie Fowler) and Paul Tesori (Webb Simpson).

Michael Collins, ESPN Senior Golf Analyst, and long-time golf journalists, John Hawkins and Jeff Babineau join Head of Content, T.J. Auclair as leads on The Caddie Network content. Paul Speaker, co-owner and recent CEO of the World Surf League, and former NFL marketing executive, is one of the Network’s primary investors.

Mar 4, 2018; Mexico City, MEX; Justin Thomas and caddie Jimmy Johnson (left) react after Thomas hit his second shot for an eagle on the 18th hole during the final round of the WGC - Mexico Championship golf tournament at Club de Golf Chapultepec. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 4, 2018; Mexico City, MEX; Justin Thomas and caddie Jimmy Johnson (left) react after Thomas hit his second shot for an eagle on the 18th hole during the final round of the WGC – Mexico Championship golf tournament at Club de Golf Chapultepec. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

A Partnership that benefits producers, investors, and the talent.

TCN is a media organization co-owned by Accelerated Growth Partners, the Association of Professional Tour Caddies (APTC) and ITR Management.

“A professional tour caddie has one of the most unique careers,” said APTC President Scott Sajtinac. “Now, professional caddies from tours all around the world have a media outlet dedicated to their critically important profession. I have no doubt The Caddie Network will play a vital role in educating others and younger generations about our vocation and help grow the game of golf.”

“We are very pleased with the early growth of The Caddie Network,” said Merrill Squires and John von Stade, Partners at Accelerated Growth Partners and Co-Founders of TCN. “No other micro content platform exists quite like this. So many golf fans are hungry for the unique insights and experiences only a professional tour caddie has. In just six months, TCN is already generating over 1MM social impressions and 145,000 engagements a month.

Niche publishing thrives on partnerships

In January, 2019, TCN entered into a multi-platform content and programming partnership with Golf Digest. The new partnership will feature several content and programming features to be shared through a variety of platforms, including digital, social and print. In addition to Golf Digest, TCN has created unique distribution partnership with Swing U and Wave.TV to deliver unique content features to millions of golf fans and Millennials across the globe.

According to TCN Co-Founder, John von Stade, partnerships give niche publishers the resources and reach to do even more creative work.

Inside the rise of micro-content platforms…
“Micro-content platforms like The Caddie Network clearly are here to stay. They are helping to deliver new content to very well-defined audiences that want that fresh content – this is exactly why some of the established publishers find niche publishers so attractive.”

“As a niche publisher, we are always in search of new and engaged fans, so for TCN, Golf Digest is a perfect partner who has both scale and a perfect target audience for TCN. In reverse, the big publishers are always looking for unique and compelling content that excites their audience and can bring a different, but relevant and authentic voice.”

Jun 10, 2018; Memphis, TN, USA; Brandt Snedeker talks with his caddie before his tee shot on the 6th hole during the final round of the FedEx St. Jude Classic golf tournament at TPC Southwind. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Jun 10, 2018; Memphis, TN, USA; Brandt Snedeker talks with his caddie before his tee shot on the 6th hole during the final round of the FedEx St. Jude Classic golf tournament at TPC Southwind. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

On new opportunities the partnership presents…
“It’s all about driving scale and distribution. As a niche publisher, it is very difficult in your startup days to speak to a large audience on your own, so someone who has the audience scale and multiple points of distribution that Golf Digest has, puts The Caddie Network in a great position to get our content in front of one of the largest golf audiences in the world.”

On why they bet on caddies…
“My business partner and I have been in the golf business and media business for more than 25 years and we are always on the lookout for potential new content opportunities and following 18 months of researching what we believed was a very undervalued and underexposed storyline, the professional caddies, we felt the timing was right to bring not only the Tour caddies lives to the forefront but also let the golf fan see and hear from some of the truly great characters in the game itself, grassroots caddies.”

On the integration of betting into the partnership…
“Golf has always had a betting angle, whether it be the professional or daily foursome games. With the huge move to bring betting into all professional sports on a legal level moving forward, we felt that TCN and the caddies themselves bring a very unique expertise to the table of understanding the weekly nuances on the professional tours. Golf Digest also saw this opportunity and it is one of the underpinnings of our partnership.”

Expanding brand partnerships…
“The primary benefit is the idea that we can benefit from GD’s scale and audience by bringing potential brands into our content distribution partnership and GD has the ability to bring new content to its brand partners as well. It really is a great partnership.”

Enjoy the caddie repartee on TCN, whether it’s a key moment, a key shot, studying the break on a tricky putt, or being a friend, a psychologist and a coach all rolled into one, no one is closer to the best players in the world than their respective caddies.

Contact John von Stade or Merrill Squires to learn more.

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