Discovery Lands 12-Year, $2B Deal for PGA Tour Rights

Multiplatform agreement spans OTT, linear starting in 2019
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In a deal similar to its earlier pact to carry the Olympic Games outside of the U.S., Discovery Inc., has reached a 12-year multiplatform agreement with the PGA Tour valued at $2 billion to carry top tournaments beginning in 2019.

 The deal will last through 2030 and includes global multi-platform live rights outside the United States to all PGA Tour media properties totaling about 2000 hours of content per year, including the six Tours operating under the PGA Tour umbrella and nearly 150 tournaments annually, like The Players Championship, the FedExCup Playoffs, and the Presidents Cup.

In addition to live linear rights in 220 markets outside of the U.S., Discovery and the PGA Tour also will create a dedicated, PGA Tour-branded, OTT video streaming service, utilizing Discovery’s existing Eurosport Player.

Discovery will broadcast the PGA Tour on its portfolio of pay-TV and free-to-air channels, digital and short-form platforms, and will work with the organization and its extensive non-live and library rights for all media platforms.

“Today is a fantastic day for golf fans around the world as Discovery proudly partners with the PGA Tour to create something that has never been done before,” Discovery CEO David Zaslav said in a statement. “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.”

Discovery struck a similar deal with the International Olympic Committee in 2015, and aired its first Olympics in 2018, the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, with great success.

RELATED: Discovery Scores First Olympics 

Discovery established more than 40 free-to-air broadcast partnerships for the PyeongChang Games, as well as social media partnerships to reach younger audiences, including Snapchat’s first Olympics collaboration in Europe.

The programmer is hoping lightning strikes twice with the PGA Tour.

Related: Discovery Secures European Olympics TV Rights 

“This is an exciting next step for the PGA Tour, which presents a tremendous opportunity to accelerate and expand our media business outside the United States, better service our 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.”

Former Eurosport Digital EVP, Commercial Alex Kaplan will head up the new venture as president and general manager. Prior to joining Discovery, Kaplan was SVP, Global media distribution, for the NBA, responsible for global direct-to-consumer strategy and business operations. Prior to the NBA, Kaplan spent 10 years at DirecTV/AT&T, where he led the organization responsible for DirecTV Sports and oversaw Revenue and Entertainment products and services. Joining Kaplan in the new venture will be PGA Tour SVP international media Thierry Pascal as SVP and head of distribution. The rest of the management team will be announced at a later date.

“I am incredibly excited to work with David Zaslav and JB Perrette to take international coverage of PGA Tour golf to the next level,” Kaplan said in a statement. “…By joining forces with the outstanding PGA TOUR team, led by Jay Monahan and Rick Anderson, we have a unique opportunity to build an amazing product that will serve the fans with the golf content they love on every screen.”

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