PGA TOUR inks US$2bn deal with Discovery to bolster international business

Discovery and PGA TOUR have struck a 12-year partnership worth US$2 billion, which is set to begin in 2019 and carry through 2030. The deal includes global multi-platform live rights outside the United States, to all PGA TOUR media properties.

Jay Monahan, commissioner, PGA TOUR, said that the move is also an opportunity to accelerate and expand PGA TOURS’ media business outside the United States. It also serves to better service international broadcast partners, and drive fan growth with a deeply experienced strategic global partner.

“This partnership aligns very well with the opening of PGA TOUR offices in London, Tokyo and Beijing in recent years and will support our long-term objectives of growing the game of golf. It also will deliver more value to our sponsors as it presents a tremendous opportunity to engage new and diverse audiences around the world,” Monahan added.

Prior to the partnership, PGA TOUR had negotiated all of its non-U.S. broadcast rights deals on its own. Moving forward, both parties will look to execute a robust international distribution and broadcast partner strategy for the PGA TOURS portfolio. This is in a bid to optimise reach across free-to-air, pay-TV and digital. The partnership will also help PGA TOUR leverage on Discovery’s marketing and promotional platforms globally and maximise multi-platform engagement.

The new business will also be led by Discovery’s Alex Kaplan, president and general manager of the new Discovery and PGA TOUR venture. Prior to the move, Kaplan was EVP, commercial for Eurosport Digital. Before that, he was SVP, global media distribution, for the NBA. The full management team will also be announced in due course, the statement said, and include the PGA TOUR’s Thierry Pascal as SVP and head of distribution.

The deal also totals to approximately 2,000 hours of content per year, and six tours operating under the PGA TOUR umbrella and nearly 150 tournaments annually. This includes THE PLAYERS Championship, the FedExCup Playoffs, and the Presidents Cup.

In addition to live linear rights which encompass 220 markets and territories, the alliance will also include the creation of a dedicated, PGA TOUR-branded, OTT video streaming service. The service will capitalise on Discovery’s direct-to-consumer product and platform expertise as home to the Eurosport Player, the statement added.

The move will also see Discovery broadcasting the PGA TOUR on its portfolio of pay-TV and free-to-air channels, digital and short-form platforms. It will also work with the PGA TOUR on how to capture all access to the action and its extensive non-live and library rights for all media platforms.

“The long-term partnership between the PGA TOUR and Discovery will create the new global Home of Golf, including delivering over 2000 hours of live content year-round and this prestigious sport’s greatest moments, stories and athletes,” David Zaslav, president and CEO, Discovery, said.

Most recently, PGA TOUR launched a new campaign called “Live Under Par”, moving away from its iconic and longest-running theme and tagline “These Guys Are Good”, which debuted in 1997. It was also developed by Troika, a LA-based agency.

The campaign plays on the idea of golf’s unique scoring language and looks to portray the “relentless pursuit of excellence” by TOUR players, both competitively and in how they embrace the values of the game like sportsmanship and respect. It also looks to showcase PGA TOUR’s ingrained mission of giving back, a statement on its website read.