ESPN+ Secures First-Ever Streaming Rights to PGA Tour, Including Branded SVOD Service

The PGA Tour March 9 announced new nine-year domestic media rights portfolio covering 2022 to 2030 with CBS and NBC for broadcast and pay-TV, while for the first time signing exclusive over-the-top video rights to Disney-owned ESPN+, including standalone PGA Tour Live subscription streaming video service.

“Following a comprehensive process of studying the market, talking to all interested parties and analyzing our various options … we are excited to be back in business with Disney and ESPN+,” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement.

For the first time, the Tour’s digital rights in the U.S. were negotiated concurrently with its linear TV offering. As a result of the new agreement, SVOD platform PGA Tour Live, launched in 2015, will live exclusively on ESPN+ beginning in 2022, dubbed “PGA Tour Live on ESPN+.”

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Rick Anderson, chief media officer with PGA Tour, said the deal gives the pro golf tour the opportunity to expand and “diversify audiences.”

ESPN+ has about 7.6 million subscribers (as of Feb. 3) and the new relationship will provide a significant growth opportunity for golf content distributed digitally.

PGA Tour Live on ESPN+ will include coverage from 36 tournaments — from the Tour’s Hawaii events in January forward — with at least 28 events having four full days of coverage, with four simultaneous live feeds each day. The streaming pact will also feature on-demand replays of events, original golf programs, and edited speed round recaps , among other features.

ESPN+ is available through the ESPN App, (on mobile and connected devices), or It is also available as part of a $9.99 monthly bundle offer that gives subscribers access to Disney+, Hulu (ad-supported), and ESPN+ at a discounted price.

“The Tour and ESPN will work together to bring new and unique content to our fans,” Anderson said.

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PGA to Live-Stream The Players Championship for the First Time in 2020

The PGA Tour has been available via over-the-top video for a few years but largely relegated to highlight clips, previews and lesser known events.

Now the PGA, beginning in 2020, will for the first time live-stream the full field of a major tournament: The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

The video event will showcase more than 32,000 shots over 72 holes from a starting field of 144 – live – using nearly 120 cameras positioned throughout course, with each group of players having its own dedicated stream.

Live streams will be available through PGA Tour Live SVOD service, NBC Sports Gold or Amazon Prime Channels.

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The PGA Tour and NBC Sports Group in 2018 announced a new multi-year digital partnership that made NBC Sports Gold the domestic home of PGA Tour Live.

“Our vision is to bring every shot in every PGA Tour golf tournament live and on-demand to our fans, and this is the first step to making that happen,” Rick Anderson, chief media officer for the PGA Tour, said in a statement.

PGA Tour Live Live expanded its coverage for the 2019-2020 season from seven events between September and December.

This includes, for the first time ever, live streaming from the Presidents Cup at The Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia taking place Dec. 12th – 15th.

All told, approximately 140 hours of additional live content is available, bringing more than 1,100 total hours to subscribers and extending live content across each month of the calendar year.

With NBC Sports Gold and Prime Channels available on dozens of connected devices such as Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, and Chromecast, PGA Tour OTT video consumption has spiked 33% in 2019.

“Super-serving golf fans with more comprehensive coverage of The Players is emblematic of our commitment to elevating this championship and builds upon our success in adding enhancements to PGA Tour Live on NBC Sports Gold,” said Mike McCarley, president, Golf, NBC Sports Group.


Discovery, PGA Tour Launching Golf OTT Video Service Outside the U.S.

Golf is getting the global over-the-top video treatment.

Discovery and the PGA Tour Oct. 22 announced the pending launch of “GolfTV, powered by the PGA Tour,” an OTT video platform bowing outside the United States on Jan. 1, 2019 – and supplanting existing streaming venture PGA Tour Live.

GolfTV, which will debut in Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia and Spain,will offer more than 2,000 hours of live action annually as well as extensive premium content on-demand.

Live coverage will include nearly 150 tournaments operating under the PGA Tour – including The Players Championship, the FedEx Cup Playoffs and the Presidents Cup.

Additional country service launches include Poland and South Korea in 2020; Belgium, China, Germany and South Africa (2021); Denmark, Finland, India, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom (2022) and France (2024).

“Our long-term goal is to create a must-have experience that truly enhances the way global fans watch, play and engage with the game every day,” Alex Kaplan, president and GM, Discovery Golf, said in a statement.

The launch of GolfTV is part of a 12-year alliance between Discovery and the PGA Tour, announced in June, that includes management of the PGA Tour’s international multi-platform rights, including linear TV.

The PGA Tour and NBC Sports Group in July announced a multi-year digital partnership making NBC Sports Gold, the network’s digital direct-to-consumer live streaming product, the domestic home of PGA Tour Live, the PGA’s subscription video service.