Comcast Buying GolfNow.com

Cable giant Comcast is buying tee time retailer GolfNow.com in a deal scheduled to close this week; we hear purchase price is in the $40 million range. GolfNow sells rounds to 1.5 million customers at 1,500 locations in the U.S, UK and Mexico.

From our vantage point, this looks like a mini version of the Fandango deal Comcast (CMCSA) pulled off last year, where the cable giant picks up an online service business. One difference besides price (Comcast paid about $200 million for the movie ticket retailer): Comcast bought Fandango in part to launch a new business — its poorly received Fancast portal. But Comcast doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel to put GolfNow to good use — it just needs to link it up with its Golf Channel network.

Compete shows declining/flat traffic at GolfNow.com, but given that it’s a service business, we wouldn’t make too much of that. The seven-year-old company says it has sold 4.5 million rounds of golf, and says 40% of those — 1.8 million — were sold last year.

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