Steve Cohen, NYC Casino Hopeful, to Invest in PGA Tour

Posted on: January 30, 2024, 04:33h. 

Last updated on: January 30, 2024, 04:50h.

Steve Cohen, the billionaire owner of MLB’s New York Mets who wants to bring a casino to his Citi Field ballpark complex, is reportedly part of a sports investment group that’s prepping a $3 billion injection into the PGA Tour’s commercial business arm.

Steve Cohen PGA Tour LIV Golf
Steve Cohen is rumored to be a potential investor in the PGA Tour’s commercial entity that’s being formed through its merger with LIV Golf. Cohen is also seeking a casino license in New York for his Mets stadium complex. (Image: Getty)

Bloomberg reported on Monday that Cohen has joined the Strategic Sports Group, a consortium of professional sports team owners led by the Fenway Sports Group, to acquire a minority position in PGA Tour Enterprises. The commercial unit of the not-for-profit professional golf tour was recently formed after merger discussions between the PGA Tour and rival LIV Golf were initiated last June.

Strategic Sports is reportedly mulling an investment in the PGA Tour worth up to $3 billion. Fenway Sports Group is controlled by billionaires John Henry and Tom Werner who own the Premier League’s Liverpool Football Club, MLB Boston Red Sox, NHL Pittsburgh Penguins, and the storied Fenway Park in Boston.

Strategic additionally includes billionaire Marc Lasry, a former owner of the NBA Milwaukee Bucks. Cohen is said to be joining Strategic through his Cohen Private Ventures investment arm.

Investment Could Be Separate From LIV Golf

LIV Golf, the upstart pro golf circuit that began in 2022, continues to poach high-profile players from the PGA Tour. One of its most recent acquisitions was Jon Rahm, currently ranked third in the world. Tyrrell Hatton, ranked No. 16, joined LIV this week.

The controversial tour is funded exclusively by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).

LIV has been scolded as the Saudi monarchy’s effort to “sportswash” its global image. The kingdom has been linked to financing the Sept. 11, 2021, terrorist attacks and has long been accused of severe human rights violations.

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan shocked the golf world last June when he announced a proposed merger with LIV Golf. The announcement was celebrated by oddsmakers, as the unification would return major fan and betting favorites to the premier circuit, including Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, and Cameron Smith.

The alignment, however, has faced scrutiny from US politicians who could use their DC clout to block the deal. That’s reportedly led the PGA Tour to explore other fundraising channels, with Spectrum emerging as a preferred partner.

The $3 billion potential investment, Bloomberg adds, would value PGA Tour Enterprises at around $12 billion. The Spectrum cash could come before the Tour and LIV Golf finalizes their deal to unite the organizations.

Cohen’s NYC Bid

Cohen, who’s worth nearly $20 billion, is a hedge fund manager who founded Point72 Asset Management. His former company, S.A.C. Capital Advisors, shuttered in 2016 after several executives were charged with insider trading allegations. Cohen settled similar charges brought against him by the SEC.

After holding an 8% ownership stake in the Mets since 2012, Cohen in 2020 acquired full control of the MLB franchise for $2.4 billion.

Cohen is hoping to make an $8 billion bet on a resort casino in Queens in partnership with Hard Rock International. Dubbed “Metropolitan Park,” the integrated resort proposal would transform the Willets Point area into an entertainment, hospitality, and casino resort destination.

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