The PGA Tour is in the first year of a nine-year television rights agreement with CBS, NBC, and ESPN, and all parties appear to be eager to keep working together.
However, the upcoming entrance of the LIV Golf Invitational series, which is sponsored by Saudi Arabia, is sure to add to the confusion.
The Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reports that NEP Group, a television production company, may soon sign a deal with LIV Golf, which “has the potential to cause some disruption in the television production business.”
NEP Group, Inc., a Pittsburgh-based production business that advertises itself as the “leading technology partner for content creators across the world,” is certainly new to most sports fans.
NEP already works with the PGA Tour, performing all of the behind-the-scenes work that results in the live product shown on CBS, NBC, and ESPN.
The PGA Tour “has been discouraging its business partners from working with the Saudi-backed upstart league,” according to Ourand.
NEP is said to have beaten out a few other businesses for the LIV deal, and if it goes through, they’ll be one of the few companies that works with both the PGA Tour and the breakaway LIV series. According to Ourand, LIV is avoided by the majority of corporations with PGA Tour contracts.
In terms of where golf fans might get LIV’s coverage, Ourand writes:
The other key question is who will broadcast the LIV Golf events in the United States, given that most of the major American media corporations already have strong ties to the PGA Tour. According to sources, LIV Golf held conversations with Fox about completing a contract, but those talks broke down a few weeks ago.
The first LIV Golf event will take place in London on June 9-11. The inaugural LIV event in the United States will take place at Pumpkin Ridge in Portland from July 1-3.