Congress Needs To Investigate The LIV-PGA Tour Planned Merger


Congress has the authority to review any business merger.

On June 8th, 1966, the American Football League and National Football League announced their intent to merge business operations but the two leagues needed Congressional approval as a merger would violate United States antitrust law. In 1970, the American Basketball Association and the National Basketball Association attempted to merge business operations and the two leagues were ready to go before Congress. But the planned marriage never took place because NBA players led by Oscar Robertson filed a lawsuit which prevented the NBA from entering into any merger discussions until the lawsuit was settled. That lawsuit was settled in 1976 and the NBA added four ABA teams on June 17th of that year. So where does that leave the proposed LIV-PGA Tour merger? Will Congress get involved? And how will Congress react, if it does, about the funding of the merged venture. The Public Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth investment fund of the Saudi government, “will make a capital investment into the new entity to facilitate its growth and success.” The fund “will initially be the exclusive investor in the new entity.” The fund also “will have the exclusive right to further invest in the new entity, including a right of first refusal on any capital.” It seems the new venture will be a Saudi backed business. Congress has the legal ability to look into the golf merger as it did with the AFL and NFL’s deal in 1966 and raise the Saudi financing issue and the Saudi human rights record.

In 1966, neither Louisiana Senator Russell Long nor Louisiana Congressman Hale Boggs were too interested in supporting the AFL-NFL proposed merger. New Orleans was not getting a franchise. NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle got Long and Boggs to sign on for the merger by promising New Orleans a team in 1967. Congress needs to take a look at the golf merger.

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Greg Norman, CEO of LIV Golf, tosses a beer to spectators into the crowd surrounding the 18th green at the Portland Invitational LIV Golf tournament in North Plains, Ore., Saturday, July 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Steve Dipaola)