LIV Golf has finally announced a US TV deal for the breakaway league, and it looks like they have a UK contract for a ‘major reach channel’ yet again near completion.
While this British publisher remains a mystery, there is a celebration within the Saudi-funded circuit that they have secured a platform that can stand out in more than 95 percent of America.
The CW isn’t the first channel the majority of US viewers have clicked on their remotes – it’s the 21st most popular channel in the country and best comparable to Dave’s channel in the UK in replay count – but there’s no doubt about its potential.
“The CW reaches 120 million households in the United States and will provide accessibility for our fans and maximum exposure for our athletes,” LIV CEO Greg Norman said in a statement.
“We are proud to point out how important it is for a league league that has only existed for a year to secure a full broadcast deal in its first full league season.”
The details of the multi-year contract were not disclosed, but it turned out to be a revenue-sharing agreement with no rights. Many will see this as LIV Golf giving away its in-house production for free, comparing that to the $600m plus (£485m+) the PGA Tour receives from its TV partners a year.
But with initial reports claiming LIV is offering to pay for airtime on Fox Sports, Norman will see it as a victory.
The Australian has certainly made no secret of the urgency of securing a broadcaster, especially after a hot off season when chief operating officer Atul Khosla and at least one of them left a business with more than $2 billion in support.
In LIV’s inaugural year, the action on the eight-act series was predominantly on YouTube, but the numbers weren’t impressive.
“This is very important,” said Norman. Golf Magazine last week. “We have a great platform that really needs to be shown to the world. When we go international, we are applauded and accepted and everybody wants to see us. So here in the United States, making sure we’re on and going on TV was a critical part of our business plan.”
It remains unclear where the 14 events will be screened in the UK, but a spokesperson for Telegraph Sport hinted that talks are ongoing with a broadcaster outside of YouTube. “News will come about our media partner in the UK,” they said.
This was the first announcement of several expected with the first £22m LIV Golf League tournament to be held in Mexico next week. A full schedule has yet to be released, and neither has a cast for 2023.
telegraph sport It was recently reported that Chile’s Mito Pereira will be added to the roster that includes Open champions Cam Smith, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson. It will be interesting to discover if more big names are being scammed by big signing fees.
At the Abu Dhabi Championship, all eyes were on Henrik Stenson, who played in the first DP World Tour event since he was removed from the Ryder Cup captaincy for joining LIV on a £40m deal last July.
The 46-year-old couldn’t match the phenomenal form of Europe’s take-over Luke Donald, but after a 10-week hiatus, he was 68 still commendable.
This put him behind Donald, whose 64 was his lowest score in more than six years, giving him a one-shot advantage over Italian Guido Migliozzi and Jason Scrivener.
No one expected to see the 45-year-old, who has been ranked 541st since 2019 and has not made the top 10, at the top of this leaderboard to wannabe players. Donald had a funny message for anyone hoping to make the Roma team for the game in September.
“My purpose in coming here was to tell them what the hell they were doing if they couldn’t beat me?” he said after he had finished with four birds. “I hope I’ve inspired them.”
Donald laughed when he was told that he might be the first player-captain at the biennial since Arnold Palmer in 45 years. “We’re a long, long way from that,” he said.
But when Stenson was asked if he could qualify to play at Marco Simone against America, he frowned. “Then I have to do a few more 68s, right?” “But weirder things have happened, and more ironic than that. So it will continue…”
To stand a chance, Stenson needs next month’s legal battle to get his way. A five-member appeals panel, chaired by Judge Philip Sycamore, will hear the relevant LIV and DP World Tour cases in London in a four-day hearing starting February 6. Essentially this will decide whether or not Stenson and Co will be banned.
“We all know the history and we know it’s going to go one way or another, and then everybody will have to deal with the outcome,” Stenson said. “There’s no point in thinking about it, but yes, it would be a shame if it happens next week. [the Dubai Desert Classic] this proves to be my last event on the Tour.