PGA Tour Strikes Major Investment Deal with U.S. Sports Team Owners to Ensure Future Stability and Boost Player Rewards

JACKSONVILLE, Florida – The PGA Tour has announced a significant investment deal that aims to bolster the organization’s financial stability and provide a sustainable future for professional golf. The deal involves a group of sports team owners based in the United States. While negotiations with potential Saudi investors continue, the tour hopes this new partnership will benefit tour golfers and pave the way for a more secure financial landscape.

Late on Tuesday night, the tour’s policy board approved the investment, and PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan briefed golfers on the details of the deal in a conference call the following morning. The investment will enable the creation of a for-profit company called PGA Tour Enterprises, which will oversee the tour’s commercial interests. The Strategic Sports Group (SSG) will serve as a minority investor, with the tour’s six player directors, including Tiger Woods, unanimously supporting the partnership.

Initially, the tour planned to create the new entity alongside the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF), which owns LIV Golf, a rival team-based golf circuit. However, the negotiations with the PIF have yet to reach a final agreement, despite the deadline passing on December 31. While the PIF could still become an investor in the new commercial entity, the tour has moved forward with the SSG investment. SSG, led by Fenway Sports Group, owns prominent sports teams such as MLB’s Boston Red Sox and NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins.

The investment by the SSG is valued at up to $3 billion, with players having the opportunity to receive over $1.5 billion in immediate and future equity. This investment comes at a crucial time as the PGA Tour continues with its early-season schedule and as LIV Golf prepares for its season-opening event in Mexico.

Over the past few years, the PGA Tour has been actively working to strengthen the sport’s shaky economics, especially after LIV Golf’s emergence. The rival golf circuit attracted many of the top-tier players and led to a legal battle that incurred significant costs for the tour. To compete with LIV Golf’s lucrative offers to players like Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka, the PGA Tour has sought to mitigate the threat while improving its financial situation.

The investment group involved in the deal includes prominent sports team owners such as John Henry and Tom Werner of the Red Sox, Arthur Blank of the Atlanta Falcons, Mark Attanasio of the Milwaukee Brewers, Tom Ricketts of the Chicago Cubs, Steve Cohen of the New York Mets, Wyc Grousbeck of the Boston Celtics, and Marc Lasry, former co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks.

In an unprecedented move, the PGA Tour has promised players an equity stake in the new venture, setting it apart from other major U.S. sports leagues. The tour states that the equity grants will be based on various factors, including career accomplishments, recent achievements, future participation, and PGA Tour membership status.

Although discussions are ongoing with the Saudi PIF, the tour and SSG are already beginning to plan future steps for professional golf. These plans could impact competition schedules, tournament purses, and the role of team golf in the evolving landscape.

The PGA Tour’s discussions with the PIF have been separate from its talks with the SSG, aiming to avoid any appearance of collusion. Despite the challenges faced and the scrutiny from Congress and the Justice Department, both sides dropped their lawsuits in June, but negotiations have endured several hurdles.

Meanwhile, LIV Golf continues its operations, unaffected by the ongoing discussions. The circuit, backed by its Saudi owners, has secured players like Jon Rahm and is preparing for its season-opening event in Mexico. This event will compete directly with the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, one of the PGA Tour’s designated signature events.

As the PGA Tour secures this investment deal, it anticipates a more stable financial future and hopes to strengthen professional golf as a whole. The partnership with U.S.-based sports team owners brings new opportunities for growth, granting players equity and opening doors for future collaboration and advancement in the sport.