Fenway Sports Group to join Tiger Woods-backed virtual golf league

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The US proprietor of Liverpool FC and the Boston Pink Sox is increasing into golf by shopping for a crew in a brand new digital league owned by star gamers Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.

Fenway Sports activities Group will grow to be the second proprietor of a crew within the TGL, the brand new competitors as a result of launch early subsequent yr, after buying the rights to a Boston-based franchise, it stated on Monday.

Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and his spouse, tennis celebrity Serena Williams, purchased the primary — Los Angeles Golf Membership — earlier this month.

TGL is majority owned by TMRW Sports activities, an funding automobile collectively managed by Woods and McIlroy, two of the largest names in golf. The monetary phrases of the settlement weren’t disclosed, however FSG will maintain a 3 per cent stake in TGL as a part of the deal.

The brand new league entails six groups of three high gamers competing on a simulator inside an area. Video games will final simply two hours and will likely be broadcast on primetime tv within the US.

Woods and McIlroy hope to make use of TGL — which has taken some inspiration from the Indian Premier League cricket match and Components One racing — to broaden curiosity in golf by condensing the sport into an simply digestible format for a brand new, youthful viewers.

“I feel what you’ll discover is the format lends itself to those that could observe golf often, however are followers of conventional crew sports activities. Finally they may grow to be followers of golf,” stated Mike McCarley, chief government and co-founder of TMRW Sports activities.

The PGA Tour owns an 18 per cent stake in TGL. Every crew proprietor will get 3 per cent, whereas the golfers who take part will share a ten per cent holding. Plenty of high gamers have already signed as much as the undertaking, together with Justin Rose and Xander Schauffele.

“That is an thought that’s actually very well timed. It fuses dwell motion and know-how,” Tom Werner, chair of FSG, informed the Monetary Occasions. “It is a time the place as many individuals are taking part in simulated golf as inexperienced grass golf.”

Werner and FSG founder John Henry have been already buyers in TMRW Sports activities.

Woods and McIlroy have been each outspoken critics of the LIV, the Saudi-backed insurgent tour that provided huge pay packets to lure gamers away from the PGA Tour. Final summer season’s launch of LIV, which additionally goals to advertise golf as a crew sport, opened up a bitter divide within the sport.

Nonetheless, the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Funding Fund introduced plans earlier this month to mix their industrial operations and stop authorized hostilities. The settlement shocked the golf world, with the PGA Tour left scrambling to reassure its gamers — lots of whom had rejected profitable presents from LIV.

McCarley stated the concept of beginning TGL lengthy predated the launch of LIV, and that the current deal between the PGA Tour and the PIF had not altered any of the league’s plans.

TMRW Sports activities has attracted a protracted listing of movie star backers, together with F1 driver Lewis Hamilton, footballer Gareth Bale and singer Justin Timberlake. Its buyers additionally embrace well-known names in sports activities finance, resembling Blackstone government David Blitzer.

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