On this week’s episode of What’s At Stake, Bryan DeAngelis, Partner and Head of Penta’s DC office, is joined by sports law expert Mike McCann to discuss the proposed PGA Tour and LIV Golf merger.
In 2022, it was announced that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund would be sponsoring a new golf league, LIV Golf, and had signed a number of prominent professional golfers. In response, the PGA Tour announced that current and former PGA golfers who signed with LIV would be indefinitely banned from participating in PGA sponsored events. Then, in a shocking twist, it was announced that LIV would merge with PGA. Additionally, Saudi Arabia would become an investor in the PGA Tour, a nonprofit organization, through the country’s Public Investment Fund. Players and fans of golf have expressed displeasure with the announcement, leading to a Senate hearing on the topic on June 11, 2023 and the Department of Justice opening an antitrust investigation into the proposed merger.
Bryan and Mike discuss the recent Senate hearing, the legality of this merger, and what they expect from the leagues merging for players and fans. The two also outlined how this proposed merger is unprecedented in professional sports and the serious implications it could have on other leagues around the world.
Mike McCann is a professor of law at the University of New Hampshire and the founding director of the Sports and Entertainment Law Institute. He is one of the nation’s leading experts in sports law and Name, Image, Likeness. Mike also co-authored a book with former NBA player Ed O’Bannon, titled “Court Justice: The Inside Story of My Battle Against the NCAA,” which tells the story of O’Bannon’s life and his historic court case against the NCAA.