Sunday, June 16, 2024

LIV PGA merger: the Aftermath

Foremer Disney Exec appointed for media relations at the Saudi Public Investment Funds

Geoff Morrell, a former Disney executive, has been recruited by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) to handle media relations for LIV Golf’s collaboration with the PGA Tour. A Foreign Agents Registration Act filing reveals that Morrell will offer “communications and stakeholder consulting services” for the foreign principal.

Morrell’s tenure at Disney was brief, lasting less than four months before his departure in spring 2022. However, he recently assumed the role of president at Teneo, a global consulting and communications firm that already had an established partnership with the Public Investment Fund for various investments. In August 2022, Teneo and the PIF signed a 12-month, $2.7 million agreement to address diverse responsibilities.

The extent of additional compensation from the PIF to Teneo in light of the heightened public scrutiny surrounding LIV Golf’s collaboration with the PGA Tour remains uncertain. The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has scheduled a hearing on July 11 to investigate the “risks posed by a foreign government entity assuming control over a cherished American institution.”

LIV Golf is a professional golf league that aims to provide an alternative to the traditional golf tours. It is known for introducing innovative concepts and formats to the sport.

Implications for LPGA

LIV has expressed its intention to establish a women’s league. While specific details about the league are currently limited, here’s what we know so far:

LIV Golf’s plan to create a women’s league suggests a commitment to promoting and advancing women’s golf on a professional level. This initiative aims to offer new opportunities and platforms for female golfers to compete and showcase their skills.

As of now, there is a dearth of specific information regarding the structure, schedule, participating players, or financial details of the proposed women’s league. Further announcements or press releases from LIV Golf are expected to provide more insights into the league’s format and operations.

Potential Impact: The establishment of a dedicated women’s league by LIV Golf could potentially enhance the visibility, development, and growth of women’s golf. It may attract talented female golfers and generate increased interest and support for the sport among fans and sponsors.

What’s been said

During the LIV Golf Adelaide event, Chairman and CEO Greg Norman addressed the topic of a women’s tour, stating that they discuss it internally and have had discussions with individual professional female players. However, he did not provide further details or specifics regarding their plans.

Top-ranked female golfer Lydia Ko described the idea of a women’s golf tour sponsored by LIV as “vague” and refrained from commenting on rumors or hearsay. She emphasized that discussing something that doesn’t yet exist is purely speculative.

The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), established in 1950, is currently hosting 34 events worldwide for its professional female golfers as part of its 2023 schedule. While little information is known about LIV’s plans to compete with the LPGA, LIV Golf has expressed its ambition to become a significant rival to the men’s PGA Tour, established in 1968.

LIV Golf Invitational Series was founded in 2021 by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which also owns Premier League club Newcastle United. The PIF has faced criticism for its involvement in sports, with accusations that it serves as a front for reported human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia.

In the previous year, LIV Golf organized eight official events, and this year they plan to hold a total of 14 tournaments between February and November.

Source: M golf, Sportico

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