Endeavor Group Holdings, the owner of the WWE, and Fenway Sports Group, the owner of the Boston Red Sox, are reportedly in the early stages of potentially investing in the PGA Tour, according to a source familiar with the situation. This could provide an alternative option for the golf association instead of its pending deal with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and LIV Golf.
The deal, which also involves KKR & Co. co-founder Henry Kravis, could serve as a backup plan for the PGA Tour in case the merger with LIV Golf falls through. It is possible that U.S. regulators may strike down the deal or the players may vote against it. The PGA Tour has been seeking U.S. investors as a contingency plan if the merger fails.
The potential investment from Endeavor Group Holdings and Fenway Sports Group could also allow the PGA Tour to reject the LIV Golf merger deal altogether. However, a spokesperson for the tour stated that their focus remains on finalizing an agreement with the Public Investment Fund and the DP World Tour, but they have received unsolicited offers.
The negotiations for the investment are still in the early stages, and the deal could evolve in various ways. Endeavor Group Holdings and Fenway Sports Group have been contacted for comment, but no response has been received yet.
This potential investment opportunity comes amidst the conflict between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf. LIV Golf, backed by the Saudi government-controlled Public Investment Fund, emerged as a direct competitor to the PGA Tour last year. The golf startup managed to attract well-known golfers, including Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, leading to a legal battle with the PGA Tour. Eventually, the PGA Tour prohibited its players from participating in LIV Golf events, forcing them to choose between the two leagues.
The merger between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour was announced in June, but it has faced significant scrutiny, including from politicians in Washington. Senator Richard Blumenthal expressed concerns during a hearing in July, stating that the deal gives the Saudi government financial dominance and allows them to control the purse strings.
For Endeavor Group Holdings and Fenway Sports Group, this potential investment is an opportunity to expand their portfolios in the sports industry. Endeavor recently took over the WWE, while Fenway Sports Group owns properties like Liverpool FC, New England Sports Network, and the Boston Red Sox. The addition of the PGA Tour would further expand their presence in the golf industry.
The details of the deal are still unknown, and negotiations are ongoing. It remains to be seen whether the investment will materialize and what impact it will have on the PGA Tour’s future partnerships and direction.