Discovery Strikes $2B Deal for PGA Golf Outside U.S.

PGA golfer Hideki Matsuyama - H 2018
Courtesy of Getty Images

The company, which owns European sports network Eurosport, continues to invest in sports in international markets.

Discovery, which owns European sports network Eurosport, is taking a further step in its global push into live sports programming, striking a long-term deal to air PGA Tour golf outside the U.S.

The deal is worth $2 billion over its 12-year running time.

It will kick off next year and cover TV and online rights to the U.S.-based men’s golf circuit, which includes more than 140 tournaments a year. Discovery will air PGA coverage on its pay and free-to-air channels, as well as digital and shortform platforms around the world and "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." The partners also said they would develop a PGA Tour-branded OTT video streaming service "to engage international golf fans across every mobile screen and device in 220 markets and territories."

Discovery is expected to sub-license the PGA rights in certain territories in a way similar to that with its rights to the Olympic Games.

PGA executives will discuss the deal on a media call early U.S. time. JB Perrette, president and CEO of Discovery Networks International, and former NBA and DirecTV executive Alex Kaplan, who in his role as executive vp, commercial for Eurosport Digital will oversee the property for Discovery, are set to discuss more details of the deal from London Monday afternoon.

Discovery is betting on the international appeal of the PGA Tour whose 85 players come from 25 countries. About half of the top 50 golf players are from outside the U.S., including England's Justin Rose, Spain's Jon Rahm, Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, Australia's Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama from Japan. 

CBS and NBC air the PGA Tour in the U.S.

Discovery, led by CEO David Zaslav, in 2015 took control of pan-European sports network Eurosport and started investing in sports rights outside the U.S. where its management team has said such rights have become too expensive for the company to be a player. Discovery and Eurosport then struck a long-term deal for the rights to the Olympics, which kicked off with this year's Winter Games in PyeongChang.

"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," said Zaslav. "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."

Jay Monahan, commissioner of the PGA Tour, said: "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. 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.”