Illustrating the power of sports on television, the PGA Tour signed new nine-year rights deals that will pay it $700 million a year, up from about $400 million.
Golf matches will continue to be broadcast on weekends on Comcast’s NBC and ViacomCBS’s CBS, with CBS getting 19 events per season and NBC eight.
NBCU’s GolfChannel will provide all early-round coverage and early weekend coverage of every FedExCup event each season, along with PGA Tour Champions and the Korn Ferry Tour. The PGA Tour and NBC Sports will expand their collaborative content and programming relationship.
The PGA Tour also negotiated its digital rights at the same time as its TV rights for the first time. The result is that the subscription service PGA Tour Live will exclusively be a part of The Walt Disney Co.’s streaming ESPN Plus.
Working with the PGA Tour, the LPGA also got a rights agreement. LPGA events will be anchor programming on Golf Channel, wit expanded exposure on NBC and CBS.
Financial terms were not disclosed, but several reports indicated that the value of the deals were about $700 million.
“The nine-year deals will put us in a position to significantly increase player earnings, deliver more value to our tournaments and sponsors, and ultimately allow us to continue to grow our charitable footprint,” said Jay Monahan, commissioner of the PGA Tour. “Additionally, we are now able to reinvest in our sport in a way never before possible, including production, personnel and technology, and are well positioned to best serve and grow our fanbase in the years to come.”
The PGA Tour will assume responsibility of the onsite production area and technical infrastructure each week, enabling the Tour to more efficiently aggregate, distribute and develop content for its various platforms worldwide. CBS and NBC will still use their own production and announce teams, led by their producers, directors and production personnel.
“We’re excited to extend NBC Sports’ historic partnership with the PGA Tour as its foundational media partner," said Pete Bevacqua, president, NBC Sports Group. "We will continue to utilize our extensive platforms to showcase golf with unparalleled live tournament coverage, comprehensive news and high-quality content. Golf is a part of NBCUniversal’s DNA across our broadcast, cable, streaming and digital properties – nowhere more so than Golf Channel.”
The Tour and its media partners will collaborate on creating more sponsorship and marketing opportunities, inside and outside PGA Tour golf coverage, including access to the vast resources of ViacomCBS, Comcast/NBC Sports Group and Disney and ESPN+.
“Extending our successful long-standing relationship with the PGA Tour was a top priority, and we are thrilled to add nine more years to this terrific partnership,” said Sean McManus, chairman, CBS Sports. “As the PGA Tour’s primary broadcast network, we are excited to showcase over two-thirds of all broadcast network coverage of the PGA Tour , expand our schedule with all three FedExCup Playoffs events in alternate years, and to increase our use of PGA Tour content across all CBS Sports platforms, with even more expansive content exclusivity. For over 60 years the PGA Tour, its tournaments and sponsors have been outstanding partners. We look forward to many more years of growth and success together.”
Beginning in 2022 PGA Tour Live will be expanded with ESPN Plus, offering multiple live content channels nearly every week of the FedExCup season.
“We are looking forward to working with the PGA Tour to bring current and future golf fans the next generation of Tour coverage. ESPN Plus will offer golf fans unprecedented access and storytelling at an incredible value on the industry’s leading sports streaming platform,” said Jimmy Pitaro, president of ESPN and co-chairman, Disney Media Networks.
PGA Tour Live on ESPN Plus will bring fans more access to the 30,000-plus golf shots hit each week on the PGA Tour by delivering more than 4,000 hours of live streaming coverage annually. All of this will be available to ESPN+ subscribers as part of the base subscription.