The DOJ’s antirust divison is asking questions.
The United States Department of Justice wants to know a little bit about the Professional Golf Association’s tactics in dealing with the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV golf tour. Apparently player agents have been contacted by the DOJ’s antitrust division because the DOJ wants to know a bit more about the PGA Tour’s bylaws concerning golfers participation in other events and the DOJ wants to know more about the PGA Tour’s actions relating to LIV Golf. The PGA has basically thrown out golfers who have joined the LIV tour including Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson. The LIV grouping has had two events, one in London, England and the other near Portland, Oregon. One of the odd features about the LIV tour is that there is no American TV deal. The PGA Tour recently signed nine-year deals with Paramount’s CBS, Comcast’s NBC and Disney’s ESPN+. Warner Brothers Discovery is paying the PGA Tour $2 billion to show the tour worldwide. The PGA has tied up nearly all of the major American media companies and those companies probably won’t do business with the LIV group.
In the 1986 United States Football League-National Football League antitrust trial, one area that was explored was whether the NFL tried to kill off the USFL by interfering with television contracts. After all, the NFL was made by the Columbia Broadcasting System with deals starting in 1962 and the American Football League’s chances of survival were greatly improved when the National Broadcasting Company gave the AFL a big money deal in 1965. LIV officials thought about buying time from Rupert Murdoch’s FOX Network to show the London tournament but nothing came of the notion. The LIV London event ended up on DAZN, YouTube, Facebook and the LIV Golf’s website, without commercials. The DOJ might want to ask questions of the PGA’s TV partners.
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