In one other signal that the worth of sports activities media rights remains to be rising quickly, the PGA Tour is predicted on Monday to announce a profitable new media rights settlement via 2030. Golf tournaments will stay on CBS, NBC and the Golf Channel — the place they’ve been proven for the reason that mid-2000s — whereas ESPN will present ancillary content material on ESPN+, its digital streaming service.
While none of the events would touch upon the worth of the settlement, 4 folks accustomed to the negotiations mentioned the media firms would pay not less than a 60 % enhance, whilst golf’s largest star and driver of scores, Tiger Woods, nears the top of his profession. The present settlement runs via 2021, and is estimated to pay the PGA Tour $400 million yearly.
With tens of billions of of sports activities media rights agreements expiring over the following few years, the PGA Tour purposefully started negotiations greater than two years earlier than its contracts had been set to expire.
“We wanted to be out in front of everybody,” mentioned Rick Anderson, the chief media officer of the PGA Tour. “Everyone who can go early in the sports marketplace is going to try to do that.”
While media executives proceed to have an almost insatiable urge for food for reside sports activities, tv, cable, the web and digital media are altering so quick that the PGA Tour didn’t need to take an opportunity on how issues would look in 2022, Anderson mentioned.
“This marketplace, consumption habits and platforms, is changing so rapidly that you can’t really make any assumptions about pace of change,” he added.
One of the larger unknowns in sports activities broadcasting is CBS’s technique, and its future. CBS just lately merged with Viacom and replaced its chief executive. Its stock has been tumbling since a poor earnings report two weeks ago, and the new ViacomCBS is much smaller than its competitors like NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast, and ESPN, which is owned by the Walt Disney Company.
It has also lost one of its most profitable sports rights properties.
In December, CBS said it pulled out of rights negotiations for the Southeastern Conference’s game of the week in football, which will go to Disney beginning in 2023. But in a surprise, CBS has won the rights to show Champions League games starting next year, despite having almost no history showing soccer.
Sean McManus, the chairman of CBS Sports, said in an interview that golf was a “foundational sport” for CBS, and the company’s most important property from April to September — from the end of the college basketball season to the beginning of the football season.
“Sports is going to become increasingly more important in the overall ViacomCBS portfolio,” he said. “I expect us to be very aggressive to maintain our sports properties at CBS.”
The biggest sports property for CBS, and all other media companies, is the N.F.L. Rights negotiations for pro football could begin soon if the players approve a proposed collective bargaining agreement this week.
While CBS will look at acquiring new rights, “our main concern is protecting the great events that we have,” McManus said.
Digitally, PGA Tour Live is a niche offering for hard-core golf fans. A partnership between the PGA Tour and NBC consists mostly of a live feed that covers two golfing groups on the Thursday and Friday mornings of tournaments. Under ESPN, which is paying around $75 million annually, according to two people familiar with the negotiations, that will expand to four live feeds.
ESPN is also expected to increase its coverage and promotion of golf on “SportsCenter” and its array of daytime shows now that it has an increased investment in the sport.
Disney announced on a recent earnings call that ESPN+ has 7.6 million subscribers, a demographic that skews young because of the heavy mixed martial arts bouts and soccer games available on it. Golf should help ESPN+ attract an older and wealthier audience for the streaming service.
Under the agreement, NBC and CBS will alternate years showing all three FedExCup Playoffs tournaments. The PGA Tour itself will also assume most technical and production responsibilities, producing feeds for NBC, CBS, ESPN, the Golf Channel and overseas rights holders to use, similar to the model used for the Olympics and the World Cup.
CBS and NBC will continue to use their own production and announcing teams, as well as on-screen graphics.
“Three major media entities banging the drum — I think that’s good,” Pete Bevacqua, the president of NBC Sports, said. “There will be a lot of Tour coverage.”