US-based mass media giant Discovery Inc. has penned a $2 billion multi-year deal for international TV rights to the PGA Tour, the US-based organisers of professional golf tours, according to multiple reports.
According to Bloomberg, the 12-year deal which begins next year is worth $2 billion.
The deal includes TV and online rights to the U.S.-based men’s golf circuit, and the development of a Netflix-like video service. The deal covers more than 140 tournaments a year, including about 40 PGA Tour events.
Alex Kaplan, a former NBA executive hired by the company last year, will oversee Discovery’s business with the tour. “We think the PGA Tour is the most compelling international sports IP in the world,” said David Zaslav, Discovery’s chief executive officer.
Discovery will seek to sublicense rights in some markets as it seeks to capitalise on the fact that half of the top 50 golfers in the world are from outside the US. PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said the Discovery agreement will enable it to further target the Chinese market.
“We think that is a market with enormous growth potential. Discovery’s broadcast experience will help tell the world and our Chinese fans the stories of these two individuals outside the ropes and build their stardom,” said Monahan.
The deal could help the tour reach new fans around the world. While the number of Americans playing golf has declined, TV ratings have risen lately with the return of Tiger Woods following back surgery. The deal could help the tour reach new fans around the world and boost the TV ratings in the US.
The PGA Tour has 85 players from 25 countries. Half of the top 50 golfers in the world are from outside the U.S., including Jon Rahm from Spain and Hideki Matsuyama from Japan. Two PGA Tour players were born in China.
Discovery, in a bid to become a global face in sports media industry, has been flexing muscles quite for some time. Recently, it has shelled humongous amounts to acquire global sports media property including the European rights to the Olympics through 2024 for $1.4 billion.