Written by Staff Writer
Hollywood film producer Jerry Bruckheimer has signed a five-year deal to become the official presenting partner of golf in North America, the PGA Tour announced Thursday.
The Hollywood mogul, who has produced a string of blockbusters including “Top Gun,” “Armageddon” and “Pearl Harbor,” will own and operate the new Bruckheimer Sports Entertainment division.
The company will oversee production of live tournaments, broadcasts and advertising across TV, the web and on mobile devices.
The multi-million dollar partnership, which was negotiated by golfer Rory McIlroy’s agent, Conor Ridge, means an end to the broadcast partnership with, “Fear Factor” producer Dick Clark Productions, which has produced the CBS coverage of all four major tournaments for the past 13 years.
Bruckheimer, who was host of ABC’s hit game show “Deal or No Deal” and is also the producer of CBS’s “CSI,” ‘Baywatch,’ and “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, said he’s “all for advancing the game of golf.”
“We want to go beyond just being a spectator sport and make it a better product, more enjoyable to watch and, of course, more entertaining for all of us,” he said in a press release.
“Our goal is to take our great golf coverage, live on TV and digital platforms, and turn it into a truly great viewer experience that reinforces what golf has always stood for, true innovation and creativity.”
McIlroy, the four-time major winner, was more critical of the change: “It’s sad but in some ways it was just inevitable,” he said.
“Our relationship with DCP was fantastic and we’re still great friends, but what Jerry’s doing is a major move forward in terms of putting a studio behind the game.
“I think they have the potential to do something truly exciting and I look forward to being a part of it.”
First event announced
It will begin in March 2020, when the Tournament of Champions will feature an edition of the Arnold Palmer Invitational from Bay Hill in Orlando, Florida, where the Hollywood producer was previously associated with the tournament.
There are plans to extend the partnership and add multiple tournaments over the next five years.
The BSE partnership includes a new contractual obligation for its employees to learn, practice and play golf, according to the PGA Tour’s chief commercial officer, Keith Pelley.
“There will be a very professional broadcast and production feel to what we do,” Pelley told reporters at a conference in New York.
“Jerry and Bruckheimer have a lot of experience with Hollywood. Clearly, they’ve created a lot of box office hits and this brings a good level of Hollywood craftsmanship and production value.
“The brand fit is not unlike what NBC did with (the PGA Championship), but Jerry’s got more in common with golf than NBC’s golf product. He and his guys love it and his golf background matches the type of sport we’re trying to do.”
The BSE will also create new opportunities for the new tournament to raise its profile.
“Beyond its broadcast presence, it will also generate revenues and bring additional revenue streams to PGA Tour as well as the foundation where the philanthropic connection is made,” Pelley added.
The BSE board includes former PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and Norman said: “This will surely lead to increased interest in golf by fans and sponsors alike, benefiting our sport in both the short and long term.”
Next up is a bidding process for the PGA Tour’s third-tier event, the Web.com Tour event in Greenville, South Carolina, which was previously broadcast by Dick Clark Productions.
The PGA Tour will name a broadcaster for that event in February.
All three tournaments will feature Tiger Woods, who tied for 15th at the PGA Championship this year. The 14-time major winner won his last tournament at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas in December.
Woods has said he will not play in next month’s Hero World Challenge.
Bruckheimer is a long-time friend of Woods and the last year he invested in a product testing company for the golfer.