NBC and CBS will continue to air PGA Tour events through 2021.
The PGA Tour’s deadline to opt out of its TV deals came and went without incident on September 1, postponing any talk of a broadcast shakeup until at least 2021, when the deals expire. The Tour’s deal with the Golf Channel, which did not have an opt-out clause, also expires in 2021.
A 2016 report from the Sports Business Journal said that the Tour had reached out to several networks for “informational meetings” to gauge interest in future broadcast rights. The Tour has also been experimenting with streaming, both through its own PGA Tour Live app as well as on Twitter.
Several factors likely contributed to commissioner Jay Monahan’s decision to remain in the deals. For one, the schedule, which has playoff events and the PGA Championship in flux, complicates new negotiations. Additionally, a complete commitment to a new platform like, say, Amazon, ignores the demographics of golf’s viewership, who are older and still prefer cable. Keeping the deals in place through 2021 also aligns neatly with the Golf Channel deals. With the deals all expiring at the same time, the Tour will have freedom to take a comprehensive look at its rights deals with the benefit of a few more years’ perspective and data on how to combat slumping ratings.
The 2021 renegotiation will be the first major deal of Monahan’s tenure, and while he has repeatedly expressed an interest in alternative forms of broadcasting, he is siding with stability for now.