The PGA Tour has reached an agreement with a collection of billionaire professional sports team owners, most of whom have invested in Tiger Woods’ troubled virtual golf league.
Under the terms of the pact, Strategic Sports Group (SSG) will invest $1.5 billion with the potential of another $1.5 billion investment if certain goals are reached.
The deal was quarterbacked by Fenway Sports Group, the former employer of PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, who will reportedly become CEO of the new venture, which will be structured as a for-profit company.
The tour’s press release noted that the deal permits for an additional investment from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).
The PGA Tour called it “first-of-its-kind” program, where tour members would “collectively have access to more than $1.5 billion in equity grants, which will vest over time.”
In a conference call Wednesday, Monahan provided tour players with details of the agreement.
“Today marks an important moment for the PGA Tour and fans of golf across the world,” Monahan said in a press statement.
“By making PGA Tour members owners of their league, we strengthen the collective investment of our players in the success of the PGA Tour. Fans win when we all work to deliver the best in sports entertainment and return the focus to the incredible — and unmatched — competitive atmosphere created by our players, tournaments and partners.
“And partnering with SSG — a group with extensive experience and investment across sports, media and entertainment — will enhance our organization’s ability to make the sport more rewarding for players, tournaments, fans and partners.”
According to the release, the deal was unanimously approved by the PGA Tour’s policy board, which includes Patrick Cantlay, Peter Malnati, Adam Scott, Webb Simpson, Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods.
“We were proud to vote in unanimous support of this historic partnership between PGA Tour Enterprises and SSG,” the player directors said in a joint statement.
“It was incredibly important for us to create opportunities for the players of today and in the future to be more invested in their organization, both financially and strategically.
“This not only further strengthens the Tour from a business perspective, but it also encourages the players to be fully invested in continuing to deliver — and further enhance — the best in golf to our fans.”
The investment group includes Tom Werner and John Henry (Boston Red Sox), Wyc Grousbeck (Boston Celtics), Mark Attanasio (Milwaukee Brewers), Arthur Blank (Atlanta Falcons), and Steve Cohen (New York Mets).
SSG will provide “strategic focus on maximizing revenue generation for the benefit of the players and on finding opportunities to enhance the game of golf across the world.”
“Our enthusiasm for this new venture stems from a very deep respect for this remarkable game and a firm belief in the expansive growth potential of the PGA Tour,” said Fenway Sports Group’s Henry, who now owns the Red Sox, Liverpool FC, Pittsburgh Penguins, and PGA Tour Enterprises.
“We are proud to partner with this historic institution and are eager to work with the PGA Tour and its many members to grow and strengthen the game of golf globally.”
The PGA Tour will continue its negotiations with the Public Investment Fund (PIF), which would invest an additional $3 billion into the coffers of PGA Tour Enterprises.