ATLANTA — Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank is adding a second golf component to his business empire by purchasing one of six teams in Tiger Woods’ high-tech TGL league scheduled to launch in January.
Blank, who also owns MLS Atlanta United and the PGA Tour Superstore, said he was drawn to the league’s potential to attract new golf fans with its interaction of tech and live action in a prime-time weekly format. Each of the six teams will have three PGA Tour players.
“The players are excited about it,” Blank said. “It’s a different format for them and this will be fun for them. … If it’s fun for the players, it will be fun for the viewers.”
Blank’s Atlanta team was officially unveiled on Monday.
Woods, Rory McIlroy and former Golf Channel president Mike McCarley have founded TGL under TMRW Sports — pronounced “tomorrow.” The league, which plans to unveil three more teams soon, will operate in partnership with the PGA Tour.
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“There is no better stalwart supporter for the community in Atlanta than Arthur Blank,” McCarley said, adding, “We’re happy to have him as a as a partner.”
Woods and McIlroy have commitments from at least half of the top 20 ranked players in the world, including Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Adam Scott, Collin Morikawa, Matt Fitzpatrick, Max Homa, Billy Horschel, Justin Rose and Xander Schauffele. The league has not announced how the three-player teams will be formed.
Groundbreaking for the arena that will be home to all the TGL events was held in February in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Players will hit drives into a simulated screen in the arena before playing their short-game shots in live action around sand traps and a green. Fans will watch in stands in the arena as well as on TV.
Blank’s Atlanta entry joins the Los Angeles Golf Club, co-owned by sisters Serena Williams and Venus Williams, and a Boston franchise owned by Fenway Sports Group as the first three teams in the TGL.
There will be 15 regular-season matches, followed by semifinals and a final. Each prime-time televised competition is expected to last two hours and generate interest from bettors.
“I know that that gaming will attract the opportunity to gamble. It will be an attractive element for this because it’s a kind of designed that way as well,” Blank said. “And the fact that we broadcast on a national basis, people will be able to bet on teams and bet on players. … It’s beyond my imagination because I’m not a gambler. But it will be real.”
Though all the competition will be held in Florida, Blank says his team will have Atlanta ties.
“We’re going to promote it very strongly as Atlanta’s team, a team of the South,” Blank said, adding he plans to utilize the red and black used as the primary colors for the Falcons and Atlanta United as well as the home-state University of Georgia.
McCarley said selecting players with local ties to their teams “is important and I would say it’s a factor, but it’s not the only factor. There’s a competitive balance and obviously the PGA Tour will have a say in the scheduling of the players.”