ESPN to air TGL, new golf league from Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy: How it impacts the PGA Tour

by Joanne Miller

ESPN has announced that it will be broadcasting TGL, the new golf league created by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, when it makes its debut in 2024. This news comes as a major win for TGL, which has already secured a prime time slot on ESPN and ESPN+ for its inaugural match on January 9th. The second match will air a week later on the same platforms.

In addition to ESPN’s coverage, ABC will also be airing a TGL preview show on December 30, 2023, ahead of the season’s start. This multiyear agreement between TGL and ESPN will allow fans to watch all 15 matches of the regular season, as well as the semifinals and finals, on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN+.

The move to broadcast TGL on ESPN is not surprising, considering the league’s intention to create a fun TV product and the strong relationships that the PGA Tour has always had with networks. This development is seen as a response to the rise of LIV golf, with TGL’s prime time slots indicating that there is genuine interest in the league.

While TGL and LIV may share similarities as team golf events, they are competing in different spaces. LIV focuses on stroke play events on weekends, while TGL offers a team option for PGA Tour players to balance with their normal tour schedules. Many PGA Tour stars have already signed up for TGL and have expressed their disinterest in participating in LIV, even if a deal between LIV and the PGA Tour does go through.

Rosalyn Durant, ESPN’s executive vice president of programming and acquisitions, expressed excitement about TGL, stating that it will be an innovative and creative presentation unlike anything seen before in golf. All players will wear live microphones, providing viewers with unprecedented access during competition.

TGL is the brainchild of Woods and McIlroy’s TMRW Sports venture and aims to bring a tech-forward approach to the game of golf. The league will feature six teams of three PGA Tour players competing in head-to-head match play, with all players wearing microphones. Several teams and players have already been announced, including Atlanta led by Falcons owner Arthur M. Blank, Boston led by Fenway Sports Group, Los Angeles led by Alexis Ohanian, Serena Williams, and Venus Williams, and New York led by Mets owner Steve Cohen. Twelve PGA Tour players, including Woods and McIlroy, have agreed to participate in the league.

Overall, the partnership between TGL and ESPN is a significant development for the golfing world. With its prime time slots and innovative presentation, TGL is poised to bring a fresh and exciting experience to golf fans worldwide when it debuts in 2024.

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