Looks like NBA Commissioner Adam Silver won’t be trading basketballs for golf balls.
According to a report in the New York Times’s Deal Book, a prospective investor considering investing in the new commercial entity reached out to the longtime hoops executive about heading up the business venture from the PGA Tour-Saudi PIF framework agreement.
According to Deal Book reporter Lauren Hirsch, he “isn’t interested,” but wrote the move to explore his interest in the deal “reflects the size of the ambitions for the sports endeavor.”
“Media is a big part of these plans, as investors bet on the fervor of big broadcasters and tech companies for live programming to lift sports league valuations. The PGA Tour signed a nine-year TV agreement with CBS Sports, NBC Sports and ESPN in 2020, and industry executives expect the likes of Amazon, Apple and YouTube to compete for the next deal,” Hirsch wrote. “This was the context for the effort to recruit Silver, who has been praised for his handling of NBA streaming rights.”
Golfweek previously reported that the Tour has narrowed the potential list of investors being considered as private equity partners in its new for-profit entity to five.
The Tour held its final board meeting of the year on Monday. In a memo to players obtained by Golfweek, Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan addressed the bidding to be the Tour’s main private equity partner. “Additionally, as you know, the Framework Agreement with PIF and the DP World Tour generated unsolicited – although not surprising – interest from numerous outside potential investors. The opportunity to potentially participate in the transformative growth of the PGA Tour for the first time brought forth dozens of inbound prospects, which were all initially vetted by the Tour’s investment bank, Allen & Company,” he wrote. “In the Policy Board meeting, we reviewed these remaining bids with the Independent Directors and Player Directors – with input from Allen & Co. and The Raine Group – and agreed to continue the negotiation process in order to select the final minority investor(s) in a timely manner.”
The Framework Agreement has a Dec. 31 deadline to reach a definitive deal between the Tour and the PIF, but that date is widely expected to be pushed deep into 2024.