Industry News

Major sports agency SPORTFIVE acquires Global Golf Management to expand its business


Scott Halleran

Sports-management agency SPORTFIVE is expected to announce Thursday its acquisition of Chicago-based golf event management firm Global Golf Management, Golf Digest has learned. The deal, confirmed by both parties, expands the SPORTFIVE golf-event portfolio, part of its recent strategy to grow its golf business beyond player representation and its own event management position.

Terms were not disclosed. Negotiations had been in the works for several months.

Founded in 1989, Global Golf Management has staged, or assisted with operations at, nearly 1,000 worldwide tournaments, including events on the PGA Tour (including this week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit), LPGA, Korn Ferry Tour and PGA Tour Champions. It also manages and conducts corporate, collegiate and charity outings and other golf-related ventures. In addition to operations at numerous major championships, GGM oversaw operations of the inaugural Olympic Golf competitions in 2016 and will do so again next month in Japan.

“We’ve worked with the team at Global Golf Management on many occasions, and we saw this as an opportunity to really grow our events business, which is a huge priority for us,” said Steve Loy, president of Global Golf for SPORTFIVE. “This is something that helps our golf management, our golf sales, our golf marketing, as well as any other potential opportunities that come along.”

Global Golf Management, which has 30 events on its calendar this year, will assume oversight of SPORTFIVE’s existing tournament portfolio that includes next week’s The Match–featuring SPORTFIVE client and reigning PGA champion Phil Mickelson, NFL quarterbacks Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, and 2020 U.S. Open winner Bryson DeChambeau. The American Express, the Singapore Open and the Australian Open are other SPORTFIVE events.

Jeff Raedle and Mike Harmon, long-time principals of Global Golf Management, will join SPORTFIVE as co-executive vice presidents of golf events in the Global Golf division, reporting to Loy, and will lead SPORTFIVE’s golf-events operations.

“Over the years we have been approached by various entities about combining our respective businesses, but for any number of reasons it never made sense for us to move beyond the discussion stage. But with SPORTFIVE we saw the potential for a truly dynamic relationship with a strong and growing sports management company, and we knew this was an opportunity that was great for both organizations,” Raedle said.

Harmon added: “This is a new chapter for us, and we are excited about the chance to really grow the golf event business both in the U.S. and around the world. It’s a great marriage, and in talking with their senior management, it was like talking with family, so we knew that it was the right situation.”

Though SPORTFIVE has been managing some professional events, its golf business has been built around player representation. Its client roster includes Mickelson as well as the 2021 U.S. Open champion Jon Rahm, former PGA champions Davis Love III and Keegan Bradley, and Harris English, a two-time PGA Tour winner this year.