Discovery to Pay $2 Billion to Distribute PGA Tour Globally

Tanya Simon
June 6, 2018

The deal, which gives Discovery online and TV rights, will give it access to more than 140 golf tournaments a year including around 40 high-profile PGA Tour events.

However, the tour's plan to roll out PGA Tour Live - its own subscription-based digital platform that offers select-hole, live-streaming coverage - in the United Kingdom from next year could post more immediate problems for the broadcaster.

While known for unscripted programming like "Shark Week", Discovery is focused on becoming a global TV sports giant. Back in 2015, it bought the European rights to the Olympics.

Discovery Inc, the owner of Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel, will invest more than $2 billion over the next decade to broadcast and stream golf's PGA Tour outside the United States, the company said on Monday.

Alex Kaplan, a former National Basketball Association media executive who most recently worked for Eurosport Digital, will be in charge of Discovery's partnership with the tour. Discovery will pay $50 million per year in 2019 and 2020, $100 million in 2021 and then costs ramp up through 2030.

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The PGA pact allows Discovery to air its content over its pay-TV and free-to-air channels or sublicense those rights to others.

Sky Sports current deal with the PGA Tour runs until 2022 and it isn't thought to be affected by this announcement.

David Zaslav, president and CEO, Discovery, said: "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".

The PGA Tour has 85 players from 25 countries.

The PGA deal comes as the popularity of golf outside of the States increases; half of the league's top 50 players are from outside of the US including UK's Justin Rose, Spain's Jon Rahm and China's HaoTong Li. 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".

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