Rogers Media CEO Exits to Head Up Golf's European Tour

U.S. Open Golf

More than doubling the $40 million a year NBC and ESPN had been footing, Fox Sports 1 outbid the two networks for a 12-year deal -- starting in 2015 -- costing a reported $100 million per year.

Keith Pelley says he'll never be a pro golfer, "so this is the next best thing."

Many entertainment CEOs dream of spending more time on the golf course.

Top Canadian broadcaster Keith Pelley is about to do just that after announcing Friday he will leave his post as Rogers Media CEO to become the new commissioner and CEO of the PGA's European Tour. "I know I’ll never be a professional golfer, so this is the next best thing," Pelley, who has a 5 handicap on the links, said in a statement.

The elite European Tour features top players like Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer that go up against rival American golfers in the Ryder Cup competition every two years. During his five years as head of Rogers Media, Pelley has run a portfolio of over-the-air TV and radio stations, magazine titles, cable channels like FX Canada, Sportsnet and the Shopping Channel, and the Toronto Blue Jays pro team.

Pelley last year negotiated a blockbuster $5.2 billion, 12-year Canadian TV rights deal with the NHL.

He was earlier CEO of Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium, which broadcast the 2010 and 2012 Olympics Games here, and head of TSN, Canada's sports cable channel. Pelley will replace George O'Grady as head of the European Tour, which includes a TV production unit in partnership with IMG.