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Discovery Inks International Deal for PGA Tour Golf Rights

Discovery has inked a long-term international deal for PGA golf rights and will launch a PGA Tour-branded OTT service. The agreement for TV and digital rights to PGA Tour events in all territories outside the U.S. runs for 12 years, and comes after the company made a major statement of intent in live sports with a deal for Olympics rights in Europe between 2018-2024.

The PGA Tour deal is worth $2 billion. The cost of the rights will escalate as more territories are added. Discovery will pay $50 million per year in 2019 and 2020, $100 million in 2021 and then costs ramp up through 2030. A further $20-30 million will be sunk into marketing over the first three years of the deal. Discovery plans to offer coverage of the golf tour, which runs for most of the year, on its traditional services, as well as via OTT.

The U.S.-based company fully owns the Eurosport sports network, which traditionally specialized in second-tier sports such as skiing and cycling but has ramped up ambitions under Discovery’s ownership, notably with the landmark $1.44 billion Olympics deal. As well as the linear service, there is an on-demand and streaming service, Eurosport Player, which was central to its Winter Olympics coverage.

As with the Olympics, Discovery will sub-license the PGA golf rights in some territories.

Former DirecTV and NBA executive Alex Kaplan, who joined the company last year, will oversee the PGA Tour coverage for Discovery. The deal excludes the U.S., where the tour runs on CBS and NBC.

With its lineup of players from around the world, Discovery CEO David Zaslav said that it plans to create “the new global home of golf.” He added: “Following our successful first Olympic Games in PyeongChang, Discovery will contribute its strong global distribution and promotional infrastructure, in-market relationships, global sports expertise with direct-to-consumer platforms and brands to create a valuable new long-term Home of Golf offering in every market outside the U.S.”

Jay Monahan, commissioner, PGA Tour, said: “This is an exciting next step for the PGA TOUR, which presents a tremendous opportunity to accelerate and expand our media business outside the United States, better service our international broadcast partners, and drive fan growth with a deeply experienced strategic global partner.

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