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The PGA Tour has reportedly turned down the opportunity to form a strategic partnership with major US talent and entertainment group Endeavor.
The firm is understood to have been in negotiations with the tour as the US-based circuit seeks an alternative to its proposed merger with the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia.
According to Sportico, Endeavor proposed making a investment into the tour through TKO – an arm of its business that owns and operates WWE and the UFC – as part a wide-ranging commercial partnership that would pay Endeavor $25 million per year.
However, the PGA Tour has reportedly walked away from the table.
“They’ve officially turned it down,” said Endeavor’s COO Mark Shapiro. “We’re big fans of golf, and we’ll continue to champion the PGA Tour, but we’re not going to be an investor at any level.”
The Fenway Sports Group, which owns the Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Penguins and Liverpool FC, is also reportedly interested in investing in the PGA Tour.
Complicating matters, however, is the Framework Agreement that the tour entered into with the DP World Tour and PIF earlier this year.
It gives the PIF “right of first refusal on capital” raised by the new entity and it also states that “parties will work in good faith to enter into the definitive agreements as expeditiously as possible.”
Former tour player Joe Ogilvie has penned an open letter to the current tour membership explaining that whichever partner the PGA Tour ultimately ends up with, compromises will need to be made.
“If we sell a part of our tour, we are taking on a close partner,” wrote Ogilvie. “It’s not dissimilar to getting married. Once consummated, the decision-making by law will require that the best interests of all parties be considered, including your new spouse.
“We can’t take their money and check in with them on occasion, they’re in bed with us. They will be part of our tour, for better or for worse.
“We must understand the detailed motivations of any new investor and how they will participate in the functioning of the board.”
The deadline for the Framework Agreement to be expanded into something definitive is December 31.
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