Discovery in blockbuster deal for PGA Tour international rights
Discovery, the US-based media giant that owns Eurosport, has agreed a blockbuster 12-year deal to acquire the international rights for golf’s PGA Tour, in a $2-billion agreement set to kick in next year.
The acquisition will come as a blow to some international broadcasters that rely on the PGA Tour to provide valuable content for their sports channels, albeit Discovery could continue to sub-license rights to other broadcasters in some territories, it is understood.
The deal covers TV and online rights and the development of a Netflix-style video service, Bloomberg reports, adding that it covers more than 140 tournaments a year, including about 40 PGA Tour events.
The deal is the largest to be signed by Discovery since it agreed a €1.3-billion ($1.5-billion) deal in 2015 to broadcast the Olympic Games in Europe from 2018 to 2024, having completed its acquisition of a majority stake in Eurosport, the pan-European sports broadcaster, the year before.
David Zaslav, Discovery’s chief executive, said: “We think the PGA Tour is the most compelling international sports IP in the world.” He added that, with events taking place on 43 weeks a year, the PGA Tour provides a reason for fans to subscribe all year round. Moreover, with 85 players from 25 countries, and half of the world’s top 50 golfers coming from outside USA, the tour has strong international appeal.
Two of the tour’s players were born in China, and Jay Monahan, the PGA Tour commissioner, said: “We think that is a market with enormous growth potential,” adding that 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.”
Discovery will broadcast the PGA Tour on its own TV channels and will use it to attract more viewers to Eurosport Player, its online streaming service, which has more than 1 million subscribers.
In USA, the tour is shown by CBS or NBC and the Golf Channel, owned by Comcast’s NBCUniversal, with those deals running until 2021.
International channels that stand to lose out from Discovery’s swoop for the rights, unless they are able to agree sub-licensing deals, include: Sky in the UK; Sky Deutschland in Germany; C More in Denmark, Finland and Sweden; Canal+ Sport and Golf+ in France; Sky Sport in Italy; Movistar Golf in Spain; CNBC Asia and Fox Sports in Asia; ABC, CNBC and Fox Sports in Australia; Global, Golf Channel, RDS and TSN in Canada; CNBC Europe in Europe; Golf Network and NHK in Japan; Claro Sports, CNBC, ESPN and Golf Channel Latin America in Latin America; OSN in the Middle East; CCTV, FunFun, Golf Channel, IQIYI and and Travel Channel in China; and SuperSport in South Africa.
Discovery’s Eurosport already holds the PGA Tour rights in Norway in a deal running from 2016 to 2021.