The PGA Tour and Strategic Sports Group have announced their partnership, with several billionaires investing up to $3 billion into a newly formed commercial enterprise. The formation of PGA Tour Enterprises was confirmed after the tour engaged in merger talks with LIV Golf last June, allowing the unit to attract investments and capital. The commercial entity is intended to provide players with equity in the organization.
The partnership will see Spectrum, led by Fenway Sports Group and billionaires John Henry and Tom Werner, invest $1.5 billion into PGA Tour Enterprises. The money will be used to maximize revenue for the benefit of players, with immediate opportunities for players to become equity holders in the new company. The equity positions will vest over time and will be based on career accomplishments, recent achievements, and future participation, with around 200 players initially qualifying for grants.
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan expressed the importance of the partnership, stating that it strengthens the collective investment of players in the success of the PGA Tour. The investment deal was approved by PGA Tour Player Directors Patrick Cantlay, Peter Malnati, Adam Scott, Webb Simpson, Jordan Spieth, and Tiger Woods, who said that it encourages players to be fully invested in delivering the best in golf to fans.
Additionally, Steve Cohen, the owner of the New York Mets, was named as an investor in the Strategic Sports Group, aiming to secure a downstate New York casino license and partner with Hard Rock International to bring an integrated resort casino near his Citi Field ballpark in Queens.
Strategic Sports Group also includes other pro sports franchise owners, such as the principal owner of MLB’s Milwaukee Brewers and co-owner of the NBA’s Boston Celtics. The investment values PGA Tour Enterprises at $12 billion, giving Strategic an initial ownership position of 12.5%, with the potential to double to approximately 25%.
The deal also allows for a coinvestment from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which has been accused of sportswashing due to its involvement in the controversial upstart professional tour called LIV Golf. The PGA Tour will maintain a majority voting interest in the enterprise, with PIF Gov. Yasir Al-Rumayyan expected to chair the PGA Tour Enterprises board, while Monahan will serve as CEO. The organization continues to work toward an investment agreement with PIF, subject to necessary regulatory approvals.