Professional golf is set for a transformative 2021, as the European Tour and US counterpart the PGA Tour form a ‘strategic alliance’ to maximise the commercial value and fan engagement.
The alliance has been formed with the PGA acquiring a minority stake in the European Tour productions and media units, as the pro-golf Tours join forces to establish a new global media rights package for new broadcast markets.
The Tours have stated that they will collaborate on joint-initiatives to maximise the value of the pro-golf, improving scheduling, prize funds and qualifying for their respective Tour events.
Supporting the newly formed alliance, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan will take a seat on the European Tour board. “We are thrilled to announce this further strengthening of our partnership with the European Tour, and we look forward to working together for the benefit of the men’s professional game and for golf fans around the world,” he said.
News of the Tours alliance has been met with mixed reactions by pro-golf observers, who note that the Tours joint-statement was light on detail, thereby generating more questions than answers.
Though the Tours underlined their commitment to ‘removing commercial barriers’ as the partnership’s key objective, pro-golf stakeholders will require clarity on key issues related to athlete accreditation, prize funding, media rights distribution and event classifications.
Addressing rumours, European Tour Chief Executive Keith Pelley clarified that the strategic alliance held no plans to launch a ‘World Tour’ for pro-Golf and that further details on key areas would be disclosed shortly.
“Today’s announcement is the formalisation of a closer working relationship between the Tours in recent years,” he added. “It was one which was crystallised earlier this year when both Jay and I were part of the working group containing representatives of the four Majors and the LPGA – a group which helped shape the remainder of the golfing calendar for 2020 during unprecedented times.
“We shared the challenges of working through a year neither of us could have ever imagined and we found definite synergies in many areas of our respective Tours. That gave us the impetus to move forward together and arrive at this momentous announcement we are making today.”