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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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TGL Signs Rights Deal with ESPN, Announces Start Date

  • All players — which includes Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy — will be mic’d up for each match.
  • The league will debut on January 9 on ESPN and ESPN+.
TMRW Sports Group

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy’s buzzy virtual golf project officially has a media partner and a launch date.

On Thursday, ESPN announced it had reached a multiyear agreement to televise TGL beginning Jan. 9 at 9 p.m. ET. — the night after the College Football Playoff National Championship. Coverage will continue the following Tuesday after an NFL Playoffs Wild Card edition of Monday Night Football.

The first two editions will air on ESPN and ESPN+, while the following 13 regular-season matches — with dates to be determined — will either go on ESPN or ESPN2 in addition to ESPN+. The virtual golf league is also planning to hold semifinal and final matches.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“The two-hour match format has been designed for today’s sports fan, as it’s rooted in the traditions of golf, but adds technical elements that are unique to a modern sports arena environment,” TMRW Sports CEO Mike McCarley said in a statement.

ESPN executive vice president Rosalyn Durant promises that TGL will be “unlike anything you have seen before.” This will include all players — which counts Woods, McIlroy, and several other top PGA Tour players among its ranks — being mic’d up, and the virtual aspects will theoretically provide a different viewing experience.

TGL — which was first announced along with the creation of its parent company in August 2022 — is finally becoming a reality.

The league has announced four of its six teams — Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, and New York — mostly owned by Arthur Blank, Fenway Sports Group, Alexis Ohanian and the Williams sisters, and Steve Cohen, respectively. Other investors in the league include Giannis Antetokounmpo, Michelle Wie West, and Alex Morgan.

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