Another day, another hammer blow to the traditional model of sports content distribution and another herald of the sports video streaming future. Discovery recently announced that they will begin a global rollout of a golf focused streaming service in 2019, capitalising on the $2 billion, 12 year deal they signed with the PGA Tour earlier this year. The service will cover 2,000 hours of live PGA Tour golf, including coverage of all the main PGA Tour events, as well as as analysis, equipment reviews, course reviews, and travel.
Golf is still largely perceived, rightly or wrongly, as a conservative sport steeped in and wedded to tradition, and in some elements that still remains true. It is interesting then, and perhaps a little ironic, that one of the sports that the world sees as most change-averse is leading such a dramatic charge in the realm of sports rights and the consumption of sports video content.
This is not to say that viewers will get every item of PGA Tour related content, which also gives a peak at the streaming future that may be on the horizon. While the US Open and PGA Championship events will likely be included on the service, the PGA Tour does not control The Masters or The Open Championship, which are run by Augusta National and the European Tour respectively. While it is not unreasonable to foresee these major tournaments being included in the package at some point, one is controlled by a different PGA, who will likely want to set up their own streaming service at some point (opening a likely lengthy discussion around content sharing between the two organisations), while the other is an incredibly lucrative, independently operated event that can effectively name their price. Then there is also The Ryder Cup to factor in, which is co-managed by the PGAs of America and Europe. It does lead one to wonder if users will need to spread their spend across multiple golf related services to get all their content, much like they will have to do so soon for Disney content, once the House of Mouse cleaves their catalogue off of Netflix.
However, the announcement is still extremely exciting in the world of sports video rights, with one of the largest sporting organisations on the planet partnering with one of the largest broadcasters to launch a global direct to consumer streaming service that will give viewers almost all the golfing content they could possibly want in a package designed specifically to cater to their interests. That is to say nothing of the mountains of archival content that the PGA Tour will have in its library, featuring some of sport’s most iconic moments, all of which will add to the long term value of the service, and give viewers for the home for golf they have always hoped for.Contact Airbeem