Despite the quick rise of PGA competitor LIV Golf, NBC says it’s not worried about it.
While NBC was in the midst of securing sports deals for its channel, NBC Sports Chair Pete Bevacqua says he is not concerned that LIV Golf will be a significant rival for the PGA Tour.
“There’s no tour like the PGA Tour,” he said in an interview. “It’s without peer.”
LIV Golf has been luring players away from the well-established PGA Tour with huge financial payouts and other perks. Recently, in an effort to fight back, the PGA Tour awarded some of its players a guaranteed income for the first time ever.
Bevacqua says that NBC is confident in the PGA Tour and the decisions it has been making. He said that NBC will “keep an eye on everything,” but they do not seem to be straying from the PGA anytime soon.
Why it’s news
NBC is a key broadcast partner of the PGA Tour. For it to provide support and show confidence will reassure the public and the current PGA Tour players that the venerable golf circuit is the place to be.
And by renewing its broadcast agreement, it suggests that the PGA Tour has a solid future.
Backing up a bit
LIV Golf is a well-financed startup tour trying to compete with the PGA Tour, which sanctions the bulk of pro golf in the country for more than 100 years. LIV is backed by the Public Invest Fund, led by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
LIV has pulled many big name golfers away from the famous tour with promises of hefty checks—creating tremendous tension in the world of golf. For example, LIV will pay Phil Mickelson $200 million to play in the tour, which is nearly double what legend Tiger Woods has earned in prize money during his entire career.
LIV gave the world’s number-one golfer Dustin Johnson a four-year, $125 million contract, double his lifetime earnings of $74 million. Along with players, LIV has also been adding some big names to its broadcast team. In recent weeks popular golf commentator David Feherty joined the startup tour as a broadcast analyst and continues to add big names to its roster.