Saudi-backed LIV Golf merges with PGA Tour and DP World Tour
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Saudi-backed LIV Golf merges with PGA Tour and DP World Tour

Saudi-backed LIV Golf merges with PGA Tour and DP World Tour

The merged entity will implement a plan to grow the combined commercial businesses, drive greater fan engagement and accelerate growth initiatives

PIF merges LIV Golf and PGA Tour

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign fund, Public Investment Fund (PIF) said its commercial interest including LIV Golf will merge with the PGA Tour and DP World Tour into a unified commercial entity, ending a seismic dispute that has split the sport.

“After two years of disruption and distraction, this is a historic day for the game we all know and love,” said Jay Monahan, PGA Tour commissioner.

“This transformational partnership recognises the immeasurable strength of the PGA Tour’s history, legacy and pro-competitive model and combines with it the DP World Tour and LIV – including the team golf concept – to create an organisation that will benefit golf’s players, commercial and charitable partners and fans.”

The merged entity (name TBD) will implement a plan to grow these combined commercial businesses, drive greater fan engagement and accelerate growth initiatives already underway.

With LIV Golf in its second, groundbreaking season, the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and PIF will work together to best feature and grow team golf going forward, the Saudi wealth fund said in a statement.

PIF will make a capital investment into TBD to facilitate its growth and success. The fund said it will initially be the exclusive investor in the merged entity, alongside the PGA TOUR, LIV Golf and the DP World Tour.

“There is no question that the LIV model has been positively transformative for golf. We believe there are opportunities for the game to evolve while also maintaining its storied history and tradition,” said Yasir Al-Rumayyan, PIF governor.

Going forward, the Saudi sovereign fund will have the exclusive right to further invest in the new entity, including a right of first refusal on any capital that may be invested in the new entity, including into the PGA Tour, LIV Golf and DP World Tour.

LIV, PGA Tour and DP World Tour said in a joint statement that they will work together to allow a process for LIV Golf players to reapply for membership on the PGA Tour and DP World Tour, formerly known as the European Tour, following the 2023 season.

The board of TBD will be chaired by Al-Rumayyan and Monahan as CEO and it will include an executive committee comprising Al-Rumayyan, Monahan, Ed Herlihy and PGA Tour policy board member Jimmy Dunne.

Saudi sports clout

Meanwhile, the decision to merge LIV, PGA Tour and DP World Tour comes as Saudi Arabia has poured billions into soccer, offering nine-figure contracts to some of the game’s best-known stars, and is looking to expand its reach in Formula 1 auto racing, tennis and other sports.

On Tuesday, Al Ittihad signed global football icon and Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema, the latest big-name player to head to Saudi Arabia. Benzema’s signing follows the launch of the sports clubs investment and privatisation project by Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammad bin Salman as part of the kingdom’s ambitious economic reform agenda under Vision 2030 reform.

Benzema follows his former Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo to the kingdom after the Portugal forward signed a two and half-year contract estimated by media to be worth more than 200 million euros ($213.78 million) with Al Nassr in December.

The sports clubs privatisation project comprises two primary components. The first entails the approval of investments by corporations and public sector organisations in sports clubs in exchange for ownership transfer.

The second proposal involves privatising sports clubs starting from the final quarter of 2023.

The project seeks to raise Saudi Pro League’s commercial revenues from $120m (SAR450m) in 2022 to over SAR1.8bn annually while generating private-sector investment opportunities and increasing the market value of the Roshn Saudi League from SAR3bn to over SAR8bn by 2030.

Read: Saudi Arabia kicks off sports clubs privatisation project

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