TGL presented by SoFi, the primetime TV golf league founded by PGA Tour legends Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy and former NBC Sports executive Mike McCarley, officially has a U.S. TV home.
ESPN has secured the media rights for TGL and will debut in the league on Tuesday, January 9, 2024, the day after the College Football Playoff National Championship. The second game will take place on Tuesday, January 16, the evening after ESPN’s Monday night football NFL Wild Card Game, which gives both games a football-driven promotional boost.
There will be fifteen regular season games, plus semifinals and finals games.
All games will air on ESPN or ESPN2 and will also be simulcast on ESPN+. ABC will also air a TGL preview show on Saturday, December 30. TMRW Sports and ESPN say it is a “multi-year partnership.”
“We believe TGL is a well-aligned partner… from the moment I first connected with Mike, I was impressed with their vision,” said Rosalyn Durant, executive vp of programming and acquisitions for ESPN, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “This is a fresh take on a well-known sport, you have the names, you have the foundation to attract all those existing fans, but then you have the innovation in technology, the fan engagement to attract new fans. ”
McCarley added that ESPN was “the ideal place and people to do this with.”
“It will fit in with the rest of their programming and there will be a natural inclination for the fans who are already there to watch this and keep coming back every week,” he added, noting that its launch after the regular NFL The season was over and the end of the college football season was a strategic decision. “You have an opening from a national sports point of view in the kind of those early week windows… (for) most sports fans it’s too cold to go outside or they’re snowed in and they provide, you know, a view and a sport that It will look a little different, but it will be known because of the players playing.”
Woods, McIlroy and McCarley launched TMRW Sports last year, with TGL being their first project. Investors in TMRW Sports include former NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol, executives like Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin and Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei, athletes like NBA star Steph Curry, F1 racer Lewis Hamilton and NFL quarterback Josh Allen, and entertainers like Justin Timberlake and Justin Bieber. .
The company has since sold regional TGL teams to the likes of New York Mets owner Steve Cohen, who will own the New York team; Fenway Sports Group, which controls the Boston team; Arthur Blank, owner of the Atlanta team; and Alexis Ohanian and Serena and Venus Williams, owner of the Los Angeles team. There will eventually be six teams in the TGL.
The teams will consist of current PGA Tour players, with Woods, McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas, Matt Fitzpatrick, Justin Rose, Adam Scott, Xander Schauffele, Max Homa, Rickie Fowler and Billy Horschel all committed to take part. TGL said from the start that it planned to work with existing PGA Tour partners in pursuing media deals.
Woods is of course known for striking gold when it comes to live golf coverage.
“Look at the partners he brought on board from Tiger and Rory, look at the investors associated with this company, look at the team owners there. It may be a new business concept, but these are not people who are new to business, new to the business and new to golf,” Durant said. “So we have complete confidence in what they are doing. We have full confidence in the way it will be presented. We are confident in the names and reach of the audience they will bring on board.”
“We are confident we can bring their expertise to the game and sports with our megaphone, the ESPN brand, using our reach and the fandom associated with ESPN to capture and grow their audience, she adds.
The competitions take place at a newly built high-tech venue, the SoFi Center in Palm Beach, Florida. Players will all wear microphones, while live fans in the arena will watch and cheer them on during the two-hour matches.
“From a sports fan’s standpoint, this is like sitting courtside at an NBA game,” McCarley said. “And for the fan at home, it’s also that NBA experience on the court: it’s lights, it’s music, it’s player introductions. All the players will be put on the microphone so the conversation, those kind of ongoing conversations throughout the competition, will be a big part of it.
ESPN is already a PGA Tour partner, broadcasting the first two rounds of The Masters as well as the PGA Championship.
CAA’s merchant bank Evolution Media Capital (EMC) advised TMRW Sports on TGL’s domestic deal with ESPN, and is also advising TGL on the international distribution of media rights.