PGA Tour, LIV Golf Announce Merger, Plus Messi to MLS?: Sporticast –


On the latest Sporticast episode, hosts Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams discuss some of the biggest sports business stories of the week, including the shocking news that the PGA Tour and main European tour are joining forces with their archrival, Saudi-backed LIV Golf.

The three groups announced Tuesday morning that they were merging their commercial assets into a single, for-profit entity. The PGA Tour will appoint a majority of the board, and hold a voting majority in the new venture, which doesn’t yet have a name. Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund PIF (LIV Golf’s backer) will be the entity’s sole outside investor, with right of first refusal on all capital raises moving forward. The merger will also terminate all litigation between the former rivals.

The hosts unpack the details, including the reaction of PGA Tour golfers (like Rory McIlroy) who were blindsided by the news, and sponsors who now must reckon with their connection to the Saudi government. They also talk about prior comments made by PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and others about the moral dangers of partnering with PIF, and how to square that with this week’s news.

The hosts also discuss Lionel Messi’s decision to sign with MLS club Inter Miami, a huge development for the North American soccer league. One of the most famous athletes on the planet, Messi would bring a new level of attention and commercial growth to the league, which has often lured famous players in the twilight of their careers. While MLS cannot match the massive salary offers made by other teams—including PIF-owned clubs in Saudi Arabia—Messi could receive a cut of sales from Apple’s MLS Season Pass product, and Adidas has reportedly offered him an opportunity to share in extra MLS apparel sales.

Lastly, they discuss the Chicago Sky raising money at an $85 million valuation. It’s the second highest valuation ever for a WNBA team in a transaction.

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