Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy-Backed Golf League Delays Launch After Arena Snafu
The air-supported dome at the under-construction SoFi Center partially collapsed due to a power outage on Nov. 15. The structural failure has delayed construction and pushed back the TGL, a virtual golf league that has signed up some of golf’s top names, by at least a year.
“The decision has been made to postpone the start of the TGL season until early 2025,” the TGL said in a statement. “This decision came after reviewing short-term solutions, potential construction timelines, player schedules, and the primetime sports television calendar.”
The power outage occurred during a day of heavy storms in South Florida. Drone video from The Palm Beach Post shows the 75-foot-tall dome covering the nearly 250K SF arena ripped into several pieces and collapsed into the under-construction interior.
SoFi, the San Francisco-based financial services firm, partnered with TMRW Sports in October to construct the arena on the Palm Beach State College campus in Palm Beach Gardens. TMRW Sports reached an agreement with the college late last year to lease 10.7 acres on the campus for the arena and donated $1M to the school in February for scholarships, academic program development and career development opportunities.
League backers and team owners said the setback was disappointing but would allow the league to build further excitement for the inaugural season and hone how the tournament — which is slated to air on ESPN in prime time on Monday nights — would be presented.
“The postponement brings mixed feelings of disappointment and excitement,” McIlroy said in a statement. “Above all, we are happy that no one was injured. We are looking forward to the launch of TGL. Given the circumstances, while the delay is disappointing, the postponement will allow us to regroup, refocus and return stronger.”
TGL will feature six three-man teams driving balls into a screen about 20 times larger than the standard golf simulator and playing a short game on three adjustable putting greens inside the SoFi Center.
In addition to Woods and McIlroy, pro golfers Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas, Matt Fitzpatrick, Justin Rose, Adam Scott, Xander Schauffele, Max Homa, Rickie Fowler and Billy Horschel have signed on to play.
The league’s six teams are led by high-profile sports investors including Arthur Blank, owner of the Atlanta Falcons; Fenway Sports Group, which owns the Boston Red Sox, Liverpool FC and the Pittsburgh Penguins; and Steve Cohen, owner of the New York Mets.
“While this delay has slowed us down for a moment, I’ve always believed challenges present tremendous opportunity,” Blank, who owns the TGL’s Atlanta Drive GC team and who co-founded Home Depot, said in a statement. “I’m confident this pause will allow TGL to present an even more compelling product, the teams to build stronger brands and audiences in our markets and partners more time to plan strong fan engagement programs.”