Two of the top golfers of the last 25 years have teamed up on a new golf venture. Here’s a look at the company and how it could compete with other golf leagues.
What Happened: Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy announced the launch of TMRW Sports (pronounced Tomorrow Sports) on Tuesday. The company was founded by Woods, McIlroy and sports executive Mike McCarley. The company said its focus was on building ventures “that feature progressive approaches to sports, media & technology.”
On Wednesday, TMRW Sports announced the launch of TGL, a new golf league in partnership with the PGA Tour. The new league will feature Woods, McIlroy and others on six teams of three golfers. The website shows an unannounced player that will be revealed soon.
TGL will take place in a “custom-built arena” that combines a virtual course with a “state-of-the-art short game complex.”
The first season of TGL will kick off in January 2024 with a 15-match regular season, playoffs and a championship match. Matches will take place on Monday nights in prime time, which complements the existing PGA Tour schedule.
Every shot of the match will be televised during a two-hour broadcast, according to the release.
“TGL is the next evolution within professional golf, and I am committed to helping lead it into the future. Embracing technology to create this unique environment gives us the ability to move our sport into primetime on a consistent basis alongside so many of sports’ biggest events,” Woods said.
A video for TGL calls the new league, "golf remixed" and says it will be "a fusion of sports, tech, entertainment, media, fan experience and interaction."
McIlroy acknowledged his love for the game of golf and the desire to drive the sport forward with technology.
“TGL will tap into the appeal of team golf within an exciting, fan-friendly environment, comparable to sitting courtside at an NBA game. TGL will widen the appeal of golf to younger and more diverse fans and serve as another avenue to introduce people to the game I love,” McIlroy said.
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Why It’s Important: Together, Woods and McIlroy have 103 PGA Tour wins, 19 Major championships and have spent 789 weeks in the number one ranking.
Woods hopes the new league brings new fans to the sport with the ability to show “every minute of action,” something not possible in traditional golf.
McCarley said talks for the league began two years ago. The new league comes at a time when the PGA Tour faces a battle with LIV Golf, a league backed with deep pockets that has lured several top names away from the leading golf tour. By airing on Mondays, the new league won't compete directly with PGA Golf, as it is a partner, but could see players choose to sit out certain tournaments based on their schedules.
Woods and McIlroy have vocally opposed LIV Golf and spoke out on golfers leaving for bigger paychecks.
Woods turned down a high nine digit deal to join LIV Golf, Benzinga previously reported. Woods said that players leaving the PGA Tour for LIV Golf have “turned their back on what has allowed them to get to this position.”
The new primetime golf league could help the PGA Tour offer an incentive for players staying and avoiding LIV Golf, with the potential for additional deals and prize money.
No media partner was announced for the first season of TGL, which could be something for investors and fans to watch. PGA Tour has media deals with Comcast Corporation CMCSA and Paramount Global Inc PARAPARAA.
Primetime golf matches have been a recent item, met with some success. In 2020, an edition of “The Match” that saw Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning competing against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady was well received on cable television. The match aired on TBS, TNT, TruTV and HLN on a Sunday afternoon and saw the largest golf audience for cable ever with an average of 5.8 million viewers.
Dick Ebersol was announced as an investor in TMRW Sports Wednesday. Ebersol is the former chairman of NBC Sports and an executive producer who has worked on coverage of the Olympics, Super Bowl and Sunday Night Football. Ebersol also co-created “Saturday Night Live” with Lorne Michaels.
More investors and partners will be announced soon, according to the company.
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