Discovery Inks 12-Year, $2B Deal for PGA Tour International TV, Streaming Rights; To Launch Dedicated OTT Platform

The new combined venture will be led by Discovery’s Alex Kaplan

Discovery Communications has landed the international TV and streaming rights for the PGA Tour with a newly announced 12-year, $2 billion deal that will begin in 2019. Discovery now holds the global multiplatform live rights outside the U.S. to all PGA Tour media properties, totaling approximately 2,000 hours of content per year. As part of the deal, Discovery will also launch a dedicated, PGA Tour-branded OTT streaming service leveraging its direct-to-consumer Eurosport Player platform. 

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan (left) and Discovery CEO David Zaslav

The rights deal, which runs through 2020, includes the six Tours operating under the PGA Tour umbrella and nearly 150 tournaments annually, including The Players Championship, the FedExCup Playoffs, and the Presidents Cup. The package includes live linear rights in 220 markets and territories.

Discovery expects to invest more than $2 billion over the course of the agreement, including licensing of the PGA Tour’s international media rights and building the global OTT platform available outside the U.S., with a gradual increase of annual investment during the term.

“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,” says David Zaslav, president/CEO, Discovery. “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 U.S.”

Discovery will broadcast the PGA Tour on its portfolio of pay-TV and free-to-air channels, digital, and short-form platforms and will work with the PGA Tour on how to capture all access to the action and its extensive non-live and library rights for all media platforms. Since 2007, the PGA Tour had negotiated all of its non-U.S. broadcast-rights deals on its own, but the two companies believe the new venture will create a more successful international distribution- and broadcast-partner strategy, optimizing reach across free-to-air, pay TV, and digital, according to the announcement.

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

The business will be led by Discovery’s Alex Kaplan, president/GM of the new Discovery and PGA Tour venture. He previously was EVP, commercial, Eurosport Digital, where he helped grow the Eurosport D2C business to m0re than 1 million subscribers. Prior to joining Discovery, he was SVP, global media distribution, NBA, responsible for global direct-to-consumer strategy and business operations. Previously, he spent 10 years at DirecTV/AT&T, leading the organization responsible for DirecTV Sports and overseeing Revenue and Entertainment products and services. The full management team will be announced in due course and include the PGA Tour’s Thierry Pascal as SVP/head of distribution.

“I am incredibly excited to work with David Zaslav and JB Perrette, [president/CEO, Discovery Networks International], to take international coverage of PGA Tour golf to the next level,” says Kaplan. “We can’t wait to get started and build a world-class global platform and long-term distribution strategy to turn the vision of this partnership into a reality. By joining forces with the outstanding PGA Tour team, led by Jay Monahan and Rick Anderson, [chief media officer, PGA Tour], we have a unique opportunity to build an amazing product that will serve the fans with the golf content they love on every screen.”

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