Tour Sells International TV Rights For $2 Billion

Professional golf is big business and the latest deal inked between the PGA Tour and Discovery, Inc. goes a long way to bolster that claim. On Monday, the two entities announced a 12-year, $2 billion agreement for Discovery to own the right to the PGA Tour outside of the United States, both on television and online.


Aside from owning the rights to the Tour coverage, Discovery’s broader plan for its coverage of the Tour includes creating a Netflix-type library of PGA Tour content, tournaments and highlights to be disseminated globally much in the way PGA Tour Live has done for United States-based golf fans.

“We think the PGA Tour is the most compelling international sports IP in the world,” David Zaslav, Discovery’s chief executive officer, said.


The deal includes the rights to 140 tournaments a year across the PGA Tour’s six sanctioned Tours, which are highlighted by the more than 40 events played on the PGA Tour. Bloomberg reports that Discovery’s rights payments will be about $50 million a year in 2019 and 2020, rise to $100 million in 2021, and then continue to increase through 2030.

“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,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said. “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.”


“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,” Zaslav said. “The long-term partnership between the PGA Tour and Discovery will create the new global Home of Golf, including delivering over 2,000 hours of live content year-round and this prestigious sport’s greatest moments, stories and athletes.

“Following our successful first Olympic Games in PyeongChang, Discovery will contribute its strong global distribution and promotional infrastructure, in-market relationships, global sports expertise with direct-to-consumer platforms and brands to create a valuable new long-term Home of Golf offering in every market outside the US.”


Alex Kaplan, a former NBA executive, will oversee Discovery’s business with the Tour.

While Discovery will broadcast the Tour’s content on their channels, they also plan to monetize sublicensing, advertisements, affiliations and digital subscription revenues. Discovery is planning to spend between $20 and $30 million per year for the first three years to build out the product and platform. 

The Tour’s U.S.-based television deals with CBS and NBC, which includes Golf Channel under its umbrella, run through 2021.