Discovery gets exclusive rights deal with the PGA Tour

Courtesy of Getty Images
Japanese golfer Hideki Matsuyama

Under the terms of the contract, the Discovery Networks will carry 140 tournaments a year, including 40 PGA Tour stops.

The partnership's top priority is a direct-to-consumer platform that not only streams the PGA's almost 150 tournaments each year, but also offers one-stop viewing for golf fans who want to watch highlights, learn about the sport's history or even improve their game with video lessons. Three years ago, the Silver Spring, Md. -based programmer acquired the pan-European media rights to the Olympics.

"We think the PGA Tour is the most compelling global sports IP in the world", said David Zaslav, Discovery's chief executive officer.

"Today there are roughly 50 million people around the world that play the game", Monahan said, adding that golf is a "$170 billion industry, with 55 percent of the participation coming outside the U.S".

Discovery said that the pair would now work together to execute on a robust global distribution and broadcast partner strategy for the portfolio across free-to-air, pay-TV and digital platforms. The tour puts on events 43 weeks a year, so fans would have a reason to keep coming back, Zaslav said.

The deal begins on January 1 and runs through 2030.

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Since 2007, the PGA Tour has negotiated all of its non-US broadcast rights deals on its own, but the deal would see them outsource this responsibility to the global broadcaster. The deal excludes the US, where the tour runs on CBS and NBC.

The deal could help the tour reach new fans around the world.

The PGA Tour has 85 players from 25 countries.

The investment - paid out over the course of the partnership - will also fund the creation of a new OTT video platform for global golf fans that will serve 220 markets and territories worldwide, excluding the U.S., set to launch January 1, 2019. Half of the top 50 golfers in the world are from outside the USA, including Jon Rahm from Spain and Hideki Matsuyama from Japan.

Included in that time frame is the US Open, The Open, The Ryder Cup, and every minute of the European and PGA Tours. As for what name the service will be marketed under, Monahan said, "We're working on it".

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