ESPN has inked a multi-year agreement to bring the exciting TGL (Tech Golf League) series, co-founded by golf legends Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy through their TMRW Sports venture, to US audiences on Tuesday nights.
All TGL events will enjoy extensive coverage on either the flagship ESPN channel or ESPN 2, simultaneously streamed on the ESPN+ direct-to-consumer streaming service. Fans can get a sneak peek with a preview show airing on Disney-owned ABC, a free-to-air network, one week prior to the inaugural event scheduled for January 9th.
ESPN has big plans to leverage its extensive sports portfolio to promote TGL. The first broadcast will follow the College Football Playoff (CFP) final, with the second event following the National Football League (NFL) wild card game.
Rosalyn Durant, Executive Vice President of Programming and Acquisitions at ESPN, expressed, “Innovation and creativity are at the core of our ESPN mission, and TGL will bring those principles to life for golf enthusiasts. TGL will be a groundbreaking two-hour presentation unlike anything seen before. Players will wear live microphones, granting viewers unprecedented access during competition. It’s an exciting evolution for golf presentation, and we can’t wait to bring it to the fans.”
Technology is a central pillar of TGL’s vision, which aims to attract a broader audience through its innovative, shorter format, reminiscent of a soccer or basketball game more than a traditional golf tournament.
TMRW Sports is constructing a dedicated facility at Palm Beach State College in Florida, spanning ten acres and featuring a data-driven virtual course and a short game complex for putting and chipping. Recently, SoFi came on board as a title sponsor for both the competition and the new venue.
Mike McCarley, Founder and CEO of TMRW Sports and TGL, stated, “We believe ESPN is the perfect home for TGL presented by SoFi and recognise the strategic advantages of Disney’s portfolio. ESPN is often the first destination for sports fans across all platforms, and we’re honoured by ESPN’s recognition that TGL complements their current line-up of major league sports.”
McCarley continued, “The two-hour match format has been designed for today’s sports fan, rooted in golf traditions but incorporating technical elements unique to a modern sports arena environment.”
Season one will comprise 15 events, featuring some of the PGA Tour’s top players, including Woods and McIlroy themselves. These players will be assigned to one of six franchises, with team investors including renowned entities such as Liverpool FC, Fenway Sports Group (FSG), Steve Cohen (owner of the Boston Red Sox and the New York Mets), and star athletes like Serena Williams, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Michelle Wie West.
Since its initial announcement last year, TGL’s founders have consistently aimed to attract sports fans who may not typically tune into traditional golf competitions. With a star-studded line-up, prominent celebrity backers, and a unique format, TGL is well-positioned to achieve that goal. TMRW Sports has also partnered with Next League to bolster its digital presence, recognising the importance of appealing to younger, digitally savvy audiences.
In the ever-evolving landscape of sports media, securing a prime-time slot on the USA’s largest sports broadcaster, ESPN, remains a game-changer for TGL. Despite reported challenges, ESPN provides an unparalleled platform to connect with sports enthusiasts. TGL will be on television, it will be online, and it will be featured on Sportscenter. TGL is poised to capture the attention of every sports fan in the United States.