LIV Golf Hires 76ers CRO Katie O’Reilly for Executive Role

The June framework agreement between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf was supposed to spell the end of the Saudi-backed startup golf league. Apparently, no one told LIV.

The latest indication that LIV is not planning an abbreviated shelf life is the hiring of longtime sports executive Katie O’Reilly, according to two people familiar with the move who were not authorized to speak publicly. She is expected to start at LIV in May.

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O’Reilly worked at Madison Square Garden, the NBA and IMG before joining the Philadelphia 76ers in 2013. She served as chief marketing officer for three years and was promoted to her current role as chief revenue officer in 2020.

The 76ers, LIV and O’Reilly all declined to comment on her hiring.

The 76ers are part of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, whose owners, Josh Harris and David Blitzer, own more than a dozen sports teams within HBSE and outside holdings. That includes teams in every major U.S. sports league, as well as ones in European soccer. O’Reilly is a Philadelphia native and leaving HBSE for LIV suggests that the league is here for the long haul, as its CEO Greg Norman has preached since the agreement to merge the commercial operations of the PGA, LIV and DP World Tour.

LIV has spoken loudest with its plans to continue through the addition of a pair of top golfers in Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton ahead of its third season after not poaching any PGA players for a year. Rahm was the third-ranked player in the world when he signed with LIV in December with a signing bonus estimated to be $300 million spread out over multiple years. In January, Hatton was ranked 16th when he got a reported $65 million from LIV, which is backed by the $925 billion-in-assets Public Investment Fund.

Last month at his annual news conference before the Players Championship, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan addressed the ongoing negotiations and reiterated on multiple occasions, “It’s going to take time.”

In January, a group of well-heeled sports owners led by Fenway Sports Group agreed to invest up to $3 billion in a new PGA Tour commercial venture. Nearly 200 PGA Tour players will receive more than $1.5 billion in equity in the venture. It is separate from the ongoing negotiations between LIV and the PGA.

Thirteen LIV golfers are in the Masters field this year, including defending champion Rahm.

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