TMRW Sports, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and former Golf Channel CEO Mike McCarley have established a sports media and technology company that aims to bring golf to younger audiences by using advances in technology. One approach is to hold a series of stadium events during golf’s off-season in January-March. Golfweek was the first to report on Woods and McIlroy’s involvement in these competitions.
These competitions, which are scheduled to begin in 2024 and will be technology-focused, will be held in front of live audiences. According to Golfweek, the PGA Tour will partner on these events, and NBC Sports has an option to become a media partner. TGR Ventures and Symphony Ventures, both of which are controlled by Woods and McIlroy, are investing in the venture, as well as former NBC Sports executive Dick Ebersol. Other investors include sports business veterans John Collins and Eric Grubman, and a roster of athletes including former NFL superstar, and avid golfer Larry Fitzgerald and F1 driver Carlos Sainz.
Upon receiving the idea from McCarley, Ebersol was so impressed with it that he immediately helped McCarley refine it. “I had an idea with some of our investors from other sports, and Dick reminded me subtly that my primary partners were Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. He basically said that the other projects could wait: We should begin with these guys and make it great.”
Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have been discussing how technology could be used to expand the sport, according to McCarley. Discussing how excellent prime-time golf is and how difficult and costly it is to put on a show, he and Mark Steinberg, Tiger Woods’s long-time agent, have done so for years. As a result of those talks, McCarley noted, the ratings have proved that “occasionally a West Coast event can go late into East Coast prime time.” Additionally, because of his conversations with Rob McNamara, Vice President of TGR Ventures and Woods’ long-time friend and playing partner, which owns PopStroke, Full Swing Golf, and TGR Design, about the pandemic, particularly with McIlroy and his team, those conversations became more frequent. “We started to consider how we could use technology to enhance the experience for both players and spectators,” McCarley said. We believe that there is a difference between observing and following – so shorter-form experiences will be more important as we continue to be pressed for time. We believe that following is more important than watching.
Ebersol immediately supported McCarley’s concept and helped him fine-tune it after hearing it. “At some point, I had the concept with some of our sports investors, and Dick reminded me subtly that my primary partners were Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, and whatever we did first should be golf. He said the other ventures could come later: commence with these guys and make it excellent.” The game of golf has continued to grow since the COVID-driven boom in the second half of 2020, Golf Digest, reported earlier this year that in 2021 golf operators reported an increase in play of 6% which equates to an extra 30 million rounds. TMRW Sports press release was announced on the heels of the highly anticipated video game PGA Tour 2k23, where Woods serves as Executive Director of the game development team. The influence of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy on the game of golf and sports business pairs nicely with the timing of this business venture.