Report: PGA Tour close to massive new TV rights deal with CBS, NBC

December 17, 2019
CBS Sports broadcasters Nick Faldo and Jim Nantz with jack Nicklaus at the 2017 Memorial Tournament.

If the final details get ironed out, the PGA Tour is set to make a windfall from new TV rights deals with CBS and NBC, according to John Ourand of Sports Business Journal.

Ourand reports that the rival networks have agreed on “broad terms of new deals” for long-term TV rights to continue to broadcast PGA Tour events. The perceived value of those rights has increased dramatically in just a few years, and CBS and NBC will fork over a lot more money for the privilege.

Just how much exactly? A whopping 60% increase over the previous deals. The Tour had an opportunity to opt out of the current contracts in late 2017, but they chose to continue forward with the major networks until 2021 when the rights officially expire. That move paid off big time for the Tour, which saw interest in golf rise with Tiger Woods’ dramatic return to the game, and to winning majors, over the past two years.

As for the cable TV side of things, the Tour is also nearing a new deal with Golf Channel which broadcasts all the PGA Tour rounds not found on network TV, as well as the Presidents Cup and Korn Ferry Tour events. Golf Channel’s fee will grow by 50% — a smaller but still formidable increase.

In real numbers, the Tour will reportedly receive $700 million per year, up from $400 million. The deals will run for nine years from 2022-2030, and during that time CBS and NBC will alternate coverage of the FedEx Cup Playoffs and Tour Championship, with NBC getting five years worth of postseason, one more than CBS.

If the deal gets done, it will be a huge win for PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan. Monahan, who took over the Tour’s top post in 2017, has yet to sign a media deal in his tenure.

The biggest issue with closing the deals is the question of digital rights. Multiple companies have made aggressive plays to win them, including ESPN and Discovery. Last year, Discovery signed a $2 billion deal for PGA Tour digital rights outside of the U.S. through 2030. SBJ reports that NBC Sports and Discovery will most likely share the digital rights in the end.

If all goes well and the digital rights are figured out, the deal will likely be officially closed and publicly announced in early 2020 as the Tour season begins to enter its peak season.

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