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PGA TOUR Partners With Strategic Sports Group for Investment in Saudi PIF Deal



The PGA Tour Policy Board recently announced that the Strategic Sports Group, a consortium comprising prominent US sports team investors, has emerged as the preferred partner for the final stages of negotiations concerning a potential collaboration between the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF).


Following a comprehensive assessment of various external investor proposals, the announcement highlighted the selection of the Strategic Sports Group, notably passing over a proposal from TKO majority owner Endeavor Group Holdings.


Strategic Sports Group brings together several investors and entities, spearheaded by the Fenway Sports Group, a sports conglomerate with ownership stakes in the Boston Red Sox, the Pittsburgh Penguins, Liverpool Football Club, and a NASCAR racing team. Other notable members of SGS include Arthur Blank (owner of the Atlanta Falcons), Wyc Grousbeck (Boston Celtics), Marc Lasry (Milwaukee Bucks), Tom Ricketts (Chicago Cubs), Cohen Private Ventures (New York Mets), and Gerry Cardinale, Managing Partner of RedBird Capital, which holds ownership in AC Milan and 25% of RedBird IMI, a joint media investment venture partially funded by Abu Dhabi-based International Media Investments.


The announcement precedes the looming December 31 deadline for reaching an agreement with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund regarding the PGA Tour's future funding. The nature of the private equity backing remains uncertain – whether it serves as an alternative to PIF funds or a supplement to address potential concerns raised by US government anti-trust regulations.


In a memo circulated by the PGA Tour's policy board, discussions with the Saudi PIF, the financial backers of the LIV Golf League, are ongoing. The memo, later published on the tour's website, assured members that negotiations with PIF will continue, expressing confidence in a positive outcome for all players and the PGA Tour. The DP World Tour is expected to remain integral to the process as they advance towards PGA Tour Enterprises, the designated name for the for-profit entity encompassing the Tour, DP World Tour, and LIV Golf.


PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan and PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan are scheduled for in-person discussions this week, following a postponed meeting last week in light of Jon Rahm's departure to LIV Golf.

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