Discovery in the United States may be known for its Shark Week programming and signature Deadliest Catch show, but internationally it’s quickly becoming a player in sports media. Back in 2015, it bought the European rights to the Olympics. Now, it has purchased the international TV and online rights to the PGA Tour for a reported $2 billion. The agreement will include the development of a Netflix-like streaming service.
The deal begins next year and will last through 2030. Under the terms of the contract, the Discovery Networks will carry 140 tournaments a year, including 40 PGA Tour stops.
In addition to airing golf on its TV networks, Discovery plans to put golf on its online service, Eurosport Player, in hopes of attracting more subscribers. The service, which already carries soccer, tennis and various other sports, has more than one million subscribers, and putting golf online would provide some consistent programming every week.
In some countries, Discovery will sublicense rights to other networks. And while this strengthens Discovery’s Eurosport in Europe, the networks also hopes that this deal will pay dividends in Asia where the PGA Tour is looking to grow golf.
Here in the U.S., CBS and NBC/Golf Channel hold the rights to the PGA Tour and they’re attached through 2021. Would Discovery be interested in becoming a player here in the U.S.? That is unknown right now, but if it decides to start bidding on sports properties here, it could force a war for sports between CBS, Disney/ESPN, 21st Century Fox, NBCUniversal, Turner and Discovery.
For now, Discovery seems content to get rights to sports that would benefit its channels outside of the U.S.