ESPN secures rights to air Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy’s golf league TGL

by Joanne Miller

Walt Disney’s ESPN has recently secured the U.S. broadcast rights for TGL, a new primetime golf league created by renowned golfers Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, according to an announcement made by the company on Thursday. TGL stands out with its unique fusion of technology and live action in a two-hour match format, featuring 18 PGA Tour players divided into six teams. Notably, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and his wife Serena Williams, a tennis Hall of Fame member, own one of the teams.

To kick off the excitement, ABC is set to broadcast a preview show on December 30. Following this, the inaugural match of TGL will air on ESPN network and its streaming service ESPN+ during prime time on January 9. This timing coincides with the night after the College Football Playoff National Championship, making it a strategic move by Disney to capture and retain viewership.

This development serves as an opportune moment for Disney to expand its repertoire of live sports shows. As the entertainment giant faces various challenges, from ensuring the profitability of its streaming business to improving the quality of its films, securing the rights to broadcast TGL will assist in bolstering its position in the market. Additionally, it may aid Disney in its efforts to position ESPN as a direct-to-consumer streaming option and potentially divest its television networks.

While the financial details of the rights deal remain undisclosed, it is evident that Disney recognizes the potential of TGL. The league is developed by TMRW Sports, a venture led by Woods and McIlroy in collaboration with the PGA Tour. Notably, prominent hedge fund owner Steve Cohen is among its investors, further highlighting the growing support and interest in TGL.

In a highly competitive landscape where streaming platforms and sports leagues battle for viewership, Disney’s acquisition of TGL’s broadcast rights will undoubtedly place the company in a favorable position. By incorporating an innovative fusion of technology and live action, TGL is poised to captivate golf enthusiasts and sports fans alike. As the future unfolds, it will be intriguing to witness the impact of TGL and Disney’s endeavors to remain at the forefront of the entertainment industry.

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