Published: Thu, June 07, 2018
Sports | By Ivan Ross

Discovery signs $2 billion rights deal with PGA Tour

Discovery signs $2 billion rights deal with PGA Tour

Discovery Inc., the owner of channels including Food Network and HGTV, has acquired global TV and streaming rights to more than 140 golf tournaments, including PGA Tour events.

The PGA Tour has US television deals with NBC Sports and CBS Sports for weekend coverage, and with Comcast-owned Golf Channel for weekday and some full tournaments in the fall and in January.

Discovery and the PGA Tour have announced plans to form a pioneering strategic alliance to create a new worldwide multiplatform home for golf, delivering the sport's most exciting moments, players and championships to fans around the world on every screen and device. Discovery plans to offer coverage of the golf tour, which runs for most of the year, on its traditional services, as well as via OTT.

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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.

Notes: This is the past year of the St. Jude Classic as a regular PGA Tour event.

PGA Tour Golf Commissioner Jay Monahan said it was "a tremendous opportunity to accelerate and expand our media business outside the United States". Bloomberg also claims that the company will look to sublicense rights in some markets. Kaplan was previously EVP, commercial for Eurosport Digital, helping to grow the direct-to-consumer business to over a million subscribers. Before working at Discovery, Kaplan was SVP of global media distribution for the National Basketball Association, where he oversaw global D2C strategy and business operations. "It also will deliver more value to our sponsors as it presents a tremendous opportunity to engage new and diverse audiences around the world". Prior to the NBA, Kaplan spent 10 years at DIRECTV/AT&T, where he led the organization responsible for DIRECTV Sports and oversaw Revenue and Entertainment products and services.

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"I went to him", Zaslav told The Post. 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, we have a unique opportunity to build an incredible product that will serve the fans with the golf content they love on every screen".

The agreement represents Discovery's latest push to become a significant player in sports broadcasting and is the company's biggest deal since 2015, when it agreed to pay €1.3 billion ($1.5 billion) for rights in Europe to the Olympic Games from 2018 to 2024.

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