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Discovery to invest US$2bn in new PGA OTT TV ‘home of golf’ service

Discovery has struck a 12-year deal with the PGA golf tour to create a new multi-platform home for golf that includes global TV and multi-platform rights outside the US to all PGA Tour properties.

Discovery will create a new PGA Tour-branded OTT video streaming service to attract international golf fans across all screens in 220 markets and territories, the programming giant said.

The partnership between the pair will kick off next year and carry through to 2030, encompassing the distribution of about 2,000 hours of content a year, including 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.

Discovery said that the OTT video streaming service will capitalise on its existing direct-to-consumer product and platform expertise as home to the Eurosport Player.

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

The move marks a distinct break with previous practice for the PGA Tour, which has since 2007 negotiated all of its non-U.S. broadcast rights deals on its own.

Discovery said that the pair would now work together to execute on a robust international distribution and broadcast partner strategy for the portfolio across free-to-air, pay-TV and digital platforms.

Discovery executive Alex Kaplan will serve as president and general manager of the new venture. Kaplan was previously EVP, commercial for Eurosport Digital, helping to grow the direct-to-consumer business to over a million subscribers.

Prior to joining Discovery he was SVP, global media distribution for the NBA and also spent 10 years at DirecTV/AT&T.

David Zaslav, president and CEO, Discovery, said: “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. The long-term partnership between the PGA Tour and Discovery will create the new global Home of Golf, including delivering over 2000 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 US.”

Jay Monahan, commissioner, 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.”