Fenway Sports Group is one of at least six North American-based groups bidding for a minority stake in the PGA Tour, an investment that could have ramifications on the tour’s pending merger with the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund and the LIV Golf series, according to industry sources.
Other bidders include the Endeavor Group, owner of the recently merged WWE and UFC wrestling companies, and a group associated with investor Henry Kravis.
FSG, owner of the Red Sox, Liverpool Football Club, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and other properties, also owns the Boston TGL team, one of six franchises in the new indoor golf league founded by PGA Tour board member Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy set to begin play in January.
FSG’s Fenway Sports Management group also has a strategic marketing deal with the LPGA and in the past worked with the Deutsche Bank PGA Tour stop when it was held at TPC Boston in Norton.
Fenway Sports Group declined to comment. John Henry, principal owner of FSG, also owns the Globe.
In a statement to the Globe, the PGA Tour said, “Throughout 2023, the PGA TOUR has demonstrated its strength, reach and value as an enterprise. Our focus continues to be on finalizing an agreement with the Public Investment Fund and the DP World Tour, however, our negotiations have resulted in unsolicited interest from other investors.”
The PGA Tour currently is a nonprofit organization. Its ongoing talks with PIF and the DP World Tour are over the establishment of the for-profit PGA Tour Enterprises.
The PIF-PGA talks have a Dec. 31 deadline.
The arrival of the North American bidders creates an option for PGA Tour Enterprises that would not include PIF, but it’s early enough in the process that all options are open, including one in which a North American bidding group, PIF, and the DP World Tour would all be involved.
Professional golf has been in turmoil since the PIF launched its competing LIV tour in 2022, luring well-known PGA Tour members with lucrative contracts. Concerns about Saudi Arabia using golf to “sportswash” its record on human rights was one of the forces that created a rupture within the PGA Tour.
This June, further upheaval occurred when news broke that the PGA Tour and PIF had agreed to terms on a merger of their commercial operations, a deal reached in secret without any player input.
The US Senate Homeland Security Committee held hearings on the potential merger this summer.
Michael Silverman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.