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Thursday, February 29, 2024

PGA Tour Nears Investment, Ensuring Stability As Deadline Looms

  • The PGA Tour is close to a deal with American investors.
  • A new for-profit entity could be valued at $12 billion.
Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

The PGA Tour’s uncertain financial future is gaining some clarity — to the tune of potentially $3 billion — just over two weeks before a crucial deadline approaches.

Under the terms of a framework agreement (announced on June 6) with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, a new, for-profit company called PGA Tour Enterprises would oversee the commercial business operations of the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, and LIV Golf. After backlash from players and even the U.S. government, the PGA Tour ultimately ended up in negotiations with a high-profile group of U.S.-based investors to accompany a potential investment from the PIF, which has a Dec. 31 deadline for completion.

Now, ESPN is reporting that an investment pact with Strategic Sports Group, a consortium of American professional sports team owners led by Fenway Sports Group (parent company of the Boston Red Sox), is imminent. SSG would inject more than $3 billion into PGA Tour Enterprises, and additional funding from the PIF could bring the total investment past $7 billion. That company could be valued at roughly $12 billion, according to The New York Times, which pegged SSG’s investment at $3.5 billion. The PGA Tour would have control over that new entity, with SSG and the PIF as minority investors.

The PIF has already shelled out billions of dollars to back the launch of LIV, which has given hundred-million-dollar-plus contracts to the likes of Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, and most recently Jon Rahm.

Any new funding for the PGA Tour will be crucial as it looks to continue offering huge tournament purses, like the $20 million to be offered at its eight signature events in 2024, even as some top sponsors, such as Wells Fargo, stop backing those tournaments.

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