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Thursday, February 29, 2024

PGA Tour Taps Into Deep Base of Team Owners With SSG Deal

  • New investor group boasts more than 200 years of combined team leadership.
  • Strategic Sports Group is also comprised heavily by TMRW Sports investors.
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Call it the new Jay Monahan brain trust. 

After weeks of anticipation, the PGA Tour has at last completed an investment deal of up to $3 billion with Strategic Sports Group to form a new for-profit commercial entity, PGA Tour Enterprises, that includes equity participation by players. 

The deal, valuing PGA Tour Enterprises at about $12 billion, undoubtedly represents a major financial jolt for men’s pro golf. Though a separate pact between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf remains incomplete, the new group carries a combined net worth of about $50 billion. But what’s potentially just as impactful for PGA Tour commissioner Monahan, and maybe more so, is the deep well of operational experience within the new investor group, involving nearly every U.S. major sports property, as well as the Premier League. 

The Fenway Sports Group-led SSG includes: 

  • FSG’s John Henry (above), Tom Werner, Mike Gordon, and Sam Kennedy, whose group oversees the Boston Red Sox and Pittsburgh Penguins, Liverpool FC, and New England Sports Network
  • Linda Henry, John’s wife and an investor in the WNBA and League One Volleyball
  • New York Mets owner Steve Cohen
  • Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United owner Arthur Blank
  • Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio
  • Boston Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck
  • Former Milwaukee Bucks owner Marc Lasry
  • Former Cleveland Browns president Alec Scheiner

Collectively, the group has more than 200 years of sports team leadership, and FSG will serve as the commercial advisor to PGA Tour Enterprises. Monahan will also be CEO of PGA Tour Enterprises. 

“There are all kinds of things happening across the business. There are big changes unfolding in the TV model, how you engage with fans. And [SSG] has been in the businesses you need to be in,” LeslieAnne Wade, founder of White Tee Partners and a former CBS Sports executive, tells Front Office Sports.

There is also an extensive base of existing relationships as FSG, Henry, Werner, Blank, and Scheiner are all investors in TMRW Sports, which operates TGL, the new high-tech golf league operating in partnership with the PGA Tour, while Cohen also has TGL’s New York team and Lasry owns the one in San Francisco. Blank and his AMBSE company additionally own TGL’s Atlanta Drive GC, and FSG owns the league’s Boston Common Golf.

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