Indeed, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have been “business partners” since the beginning. Now, they are finally putting a label on it.
On Tuesday, Woods and McIlroy announced the formation of “TMRW Sports,“A company focused on ‘technology-focused ventures that showcase progressive approaches to sports, media and entertainment.'” The two men are forming the company alongside legendary NBC Sports producer Dick Ebersol and executive Mike McCarley, who will oversee the execution of the firm’s vision.
It is not yet known which areas of sports, media and entertainment it will focus on, although it stands to reason that golf will find itself at the center. The announcement comes just a few days later Golf week reported that Woods and McIlroy were considering starting an arena-focused golf skills competition to run alongside the PGA Tour.
TMRW Sports marks the first official business deal between the two players, but both men have been running similar ventures for some time now. In the time since McIlroy’s ascension to golf’s consciousness in the late 2000s, Tiger and Rory have shared an equipment manufacturer (Nike, and then TaylorMade) and an apparel sponsor (Nike again), in addition to their roles as two PGA Tour. the most influential figures. All of this is to say nothing of the couple’s business ventures away from the course, which include investments in golf entertainment companies. McIlroy’s Symphony Ventures investment portfolio includes a stake in Drive Shack’s Puttery, while Woods’ TGR Investments owns a stake in Popstroke.
“I’m excited to work with TMRW Sports to bring people more access to sports,” Woods said in a release announcing the creation of TMRW. “So many athletes, artists and people I meet from all walks of life share our passion for sports, but they also share our desire to build a better future for the next generation of sports fans. Together, we can harness technology to bring new approaches to the sports we love.”
In Ebersol and McCarley, the two golfers have lined up with two of the biggest names in sports media — a pair of NBCUniversal sweethearts who rose to senior executive positions at the company. Ebersol, the former chairman of NBC Sports, is perhaps best known for his role in founding NBC Sunday Night Football AND Saturday Night Live; two franchises that have served as pillars of the network’s brand for the past few decades. As executive producer of the show, Ebersol oversaw SNF‘su became the #1 longest-running show in American television history. McCarley, meanwhile, rose through the marketing ranks at NBC to eventually serve as president of the Golf Channel and later, the entire NBC golf portfolio.
The growth of non-traditional sports broadcasting has exploded in recent years as content creators grow deeper into “shoulder programming,” or programming that runs outside of traditional network broadcasting. Some independent creators and larger sports media companies like Barstool Sports have seen success bringing new voices to live content on Twitch, while networks have carved out larger amounts of real estate for non-traditional formats. ESPN’s Manningcast coverage Monday Night Football during the 2021 season earned them an Emmy and has since been rerun on other network properties, while CBS’ Nickelodeon simulcasts over the past two NFL Wild Card weekends have driven huge audiences to the sport.
TMRW could be looking to repeat the success seen by the Slimecasts – or it could be looking to develop a new sports property all its own, a Big3 basketball. That league, which was founded under similar circumstances (by Ice Cube along with legendary producer Jeff Kwatinetz), has seen rapid success as an offseason alternative to the NBA and is currently in the midst of its fifth season.
Either way, in TMRW, the two golfers now find themselves linked at the hip. Not that they haven’t ever been.
“For the last few years off the course, I’ve been focused on helping to lead golf into its digital future,” McIlroy said. “Now, by joining forces with Tiger, Mike and other TMRW Sports partners, we can shape the way media and technology enhance the sports experience. In a world where technology gives us so many choices to use our time, we want to make sports more accessible to as many people as possible.”