The PGA Tour has signed a nine-year deal with several of the largest streaming video services including ESPN+ that will see the Tour’s streaming presence greatly increase. The deal was made with ViacomCBS, Comcast, and Walt Disney, parent company of ESPN. While financial details weren’t yet disclosed at press time, this was sure to be a massive deal for some of golf’s most high-profile televised events.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, this most recent deal with ESPN+ and other streaming video services marks the first time that the PGA Tour has negotiated the streaming rights for its events concurrently with its broadcast arrangements. Starting in 2022, PGA Tour Live will stream exclusively on ESPN+ and will expand to include multiple live content channels.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan says the PGA considers these new deals to be a “major win” for golf fans. “Following a comprehensive process of studying the market, talking to all interested parties and analyzing our various options, we’re excited to announce that we have entered into new agreements with our existing partners ViacomCBS and Comcast/NBC Sports Group, while establishing a new long-term relationship with Disney and ESPN+,” said Monahan. “We were extremely pleased with the interest we received from the market — both with incumbents and other media companies — and are excited that our current partners shared our vision for the future, and we are equally excited to be back in business with Disney and ESPN+.
Previously, coverage of the PGA Tour has mainly been relegated to linear television, with CBS and NBC dominating weekend coverage of most tournaments. This new arrangement with ESPN+ will surely widen the Tour’s audience, particularly given the success ESPN+ has had by being bundled with Hulu and Disney+.
Will streaming become the new norm in sports? Given all of the major deals signed recently between leagues and streaming services, it’s clear that sports will at least become a major part of the streaming landscape.