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FREE | Golf Data Report, 2018

In the latest interactive monthly data report, SportBusiness Media analyses the media-rights landscape in golf.

This is the free version of the report. Click here to access the full version (subscribers only).

Further detail on the deals covered in this interactive data report is available with our Rights Tracker tool – click here for more information.

Global golf

According to the 2018 SportBusiness Consulting Global Media Report, golf’s media rights are worth $1.2bn (€1.05bn) in 2018 and accounts for 2.5 per cent of the global sports rights market. Revenues have grown by 17.4 per cent since 2014 and are predicted to continue to rise by a further 5.9 per cent until 2021, due to increasing value in long-term rights deals across the sport.

The PGA tour is the sport’s most valuable property, maintaining a 54.8 per cent share of the sport’s total market value. It generates significant revenue both domestically – where it also enjoys widespread free-to-air exposure – and internationally.

Discovery’s long-term PGA Tour deal

Earlier this year the PGA Tour announced that it was setting up a joint venture with US media group Discovery for its media rights outside of the US in a 12-year, $2bn deal beginning in 2019.

Generating an average of $166.7m per year, the deal is a 66.7-per-cent increase on the combined value of the PGA Tour’s various current international rights deals, which in 2018 are understood to be worth about $100m per year.

Discovery’s decision to invest in the PGA Tour’s international rights looks like a move in a different direction for the media group, which previously only had one golf rights deal: it holds PGA Tour rights in Norway in a six-year deal, from 2016 to 2021. It has since also sublicensed PGA Tour rights in Denmark from 2019 to 2021.

Discovery have continued to expand their portfolio in golf, recently striking a deal with the European Tour to be shown across their OTT streaming service GolfTV. The deal includes multi-platform live rights, in selected territories, to all European Tour events and the next two Ryder Cups.

In Discovery’s PGA Tour deal, it will manage all territories outside the US by 2024, existing deals will be honoured until their expiry. This will cause Discovery’s annual fee to vary dramatically as and when territories are rolled into the deal.

See the graph below for when discovery will take over in each market.

Currently, the most lucrative PGA Tour international rights deal is with pay-television broadcaster Sky in the UK and Ireland. The seven-year deal is from 2015-16 to 2020-21.

See selected deals by hovering over the timeline.

The majors’ growth

Broadcasters are keen to monopolise golf in their respective territories. Evidence of this can be seen in: Australia (Fox); India (DSport); the Nordics (Nordic Entertainment Group); Germany, Austria, Switzerland (Sky Deutschland); and France (Canal Plus), where each has secured rights to all four golf majors.

Golf has become an important property for rights-holders to add to their portfolio with long-term deals in place in various territories. US pay-television broadcaster Fox Sports has exclusive rights to USGA Events, in a 12-year deal from 2015 to 2026. A 151-per-cent increase from the previous deal, held by NBC and ESPN until 2014, distinguished Fox’s determination to secure the deal.

Golf in the UK has been revolutionised through Sky’s dedicated golf channel to absorb the market. Sky’s aggressive bidding for the Open Championship rights saw fees double in the UK.

Click logos to view 2018 broadcast lists.

European Tour in focus

Golf is dominated in the UK by Sky and in Germany by Sky Deutschland.

In the UK and Ireland Sky renewed its rights for four years, from 2019 to 2022. Sky’s previous six-year deal was from 2013 to 2018. Competition for rights from 2009 to 2012 was high. Sky was determined to outbid public service broadcaster the BBC to become the home of golf, significantly increasing the value of the rights. It has since established its dominance, renouncing the BBC’s interest.

Pay-television broadcaster Sky Deutschland pay much less in the new cycle covering Germany, Austria and Switzerland, from 2019 to 2022, due to losing exclusivity to digital rights acquired by Discovery. From 2015 to 2018, Sky held fully exclusive European Tour and Ryder Cup rights.

Click country to view historical media rights values.

Most recent

Premier League club Liverpool’s decision to launch ‘paid-for’ content options on global video-sharing platform YouTube is a taster of how the platform will develop its sports-broadcasting partnerships.

TF1 and M6’s joint acquisition of Euro 2020 free-to-air rights was struck at a similar per-match fee as the one they paid for the last comparable edition of the tournament, in 2012.

There are two truisms in the sale of sports media rights which at first glance appear difficult to reconcile. One is that every market has a unique set of characteristics and the value earned is contingent upon those characteristics at the moment the rights are sold. The other is that the early deals in a market-by-market sales cycle create a psychological benchmark which affects how sales in the following markets play out.

The International Olympic Committee extended a long run of media-rights revenue growth in Japan in its latest deal with the market’s free-to-air broadcaster consortium for 2026 to 2032, when the special case of the large Tokyo 2020 sales cycle is disregarded.