The PGA Tour has cut its list of potential investors to five, according to Golfweek.
One of these entities has been reported as sports investment giant Fenway Sports Group (FSG), which is the current owner of MLB franchise Boston Red Sox, NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, as well as English Premier League football club Liverpool. FSG has also partnered with Steven Cohen and Arthur Blank, who own MLB’s New York Mets and the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.
The other four contenders who are in the race to become PGA equity partners are Liberty Strategic Capital, Acorn Growth Companies, Eldridge Industries, as well as a group of “influential individuals”, insider sources have told Golfweek, although nothing has been made public yet.
The only company to publicly confirm its interest in investing in the PGA Tour was sports and entertainment company Endeavor, but its president Mark Shapiro announced last week that the offer has been turned down.
And while no clear frontrunner has been established yet, it seems that FSG might be the most reasonable choice given that it has the most extensive experience out of the bunch when it comes to sports investments and strategic sports brand takeovers.
Acorn Growth Companies, for example, has built its fortune with investments into the defence, intelligence and aerospace sectors.
However, the company is also largely focused on striking deals within the US, which could be a useful leverage against accusations from the US senate that the PGA merger with Saudi-backed LIV Golf could prove to be a trojan horse that puts a foreign wealth fund right in the middle of the American economy.
Similar to FSG, Eldridge Industries also boasts several major investments into sports, having previously acquired MLB franchise the Los Angeles Dodgers, as well as becoming part of a consortium that took over Chelsea Football Club back in May.
Washington-based Liberty Strategic Capital is a private equity firm that is primarily focused on strategic investments in technology, financial services and fintech.
The PGA merger with LIV Golf – backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) – currently has a deadline that expires on 31 December, but it is also highly likely that the date could be pushed further into 2024.