The PGA Tour logo is seen during the third round of the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut, on June 24, 2017.
Fred Kfoury | Icon Sportswire | Getty Images
The PGA Tour is attracting potential outside investors — some of which are considering making a rival pitch to the Saudi-backed Public Investment Fund’s proposal, according to people familiar with the matter.
Endeavor Group Holdings and Fenway Sports Group are considering investing in the PGA Tour, potentially to rival or coincide with the PIF’s proposed deal, said the people, who declined to be named due to the sensitive nature of the discussions.
The discussions, which are in preliminary stages, stem from a PGA Tour investment vehicle created as part of the framework agreement for its proposed deal with PIF.
“Throughout 2023, the PGA Tour has demonstrated its strength, reach and value as an enterprise. Our focus continues to be on finalizing an agreement with the Public Investment Fund and the DP World Tour, however, our negotiations have resulted in unsolicited interest from other investors,” said a PGA Tour spokesperson.
Representatives for Endeavor and Fenway declined to comment.
Bloomberg earlier reported that Endeavor and Fenway were mulling a rival offer.
In June, the PGA Tour announced a proposed deal that would see it combine with rival LIV Golf following months of lawsuits and competition between the two. The PIF, which is controlled by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, finances LIV.
Under the framework agreement, the tour would hold a permanent controlling interest in the new entity’s board of directors and would maintain that majority share regardless of PIF’s investments. PIF has said it would invest billions into the entity and hold a noncontrolling minority stake.
Specifics of the deal and its valuation are still being discussed. The tour’s board, including player directors, have to sign off on an eventual definitive agreement. Ultimately, the tour and its members will make the decision on the final investment structure, and whether it includes or is led by PIF or alternative investors, one of the people said.
The deal between LIV and the PGA Tour has faced criticism and controversy. It is currently under investigation by a Senate subcommittee. The Saudis have been accused of “sportswashing” to take the focus off the kingdom’s history of human rights violations.
Endeavor recently was behind the combination of its UFC and World Wrestling Entertainment, a newly merged publicly traded company now called TKO. Fenway is an investment firm that backs several major sports franchises, including Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox, the Liverpool Football Club and the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins.