ADVERTISEMENT

LIV Golf is finally (!) on the verge of a TV deal

ADVERTISEMENT

The CW was the 21st most watched US TV network in 2021, but it reached about 100 million homes.

Getty Images

Finally, LIV Golf has a TV partner.

The upstart league is close to finalizing a television rights contract with The CW, sources told GOLF, to award media rights to the network’s second season of LIV with one of the youngest viewers in the country.

Details of the agreement have not yet been announced, but people familiar with the matter have indicated that the deal will mark a shift from the traditional business of big sports television, in which a broadcaster pays a fee to a sports league for the rights to broadcast live. Events and handles most ads on its own.

Networks will spend Almost 16 billion dollars about the rights to the Big Five professional sports and golf in 2023, but the proposed structure of this agreement makes it unlikely that LIV would get a financial windfall from The CW for the PGA Tour’s broadcast agreements (which net about $600 million for the tour annually), even if The agreement allowed the league to earn a portion of advertising revenue. Still, the bottom line is likely very important to LIV, which in recent months has acknowledged the importance of a true streaming partner to its long-term efforts.

“It’s critical,” Greg Norman, CEO of LIV, told GOLF last week. “We have a great platform that really needs to be shown to the world. When we go internationally, we’re praised and accepted and everyone wants to see us. So here in the States, it’s obviously been a very critical point of our business plan to make sure that we’re going to be on TV and we’re going to be on TV.”

The agreement was first reported by Sports Illustratedalthough rumors on The CW first came from LIV Golf announcer David Feherty, who Glimpse in the news At an appearance in West Palm Beach, Florida, last Thursday. (John Aurand of Sports Business Journal He was the first to report the interest between the two parties.)

“Have you heard of the CW?” Verity reportedly told the crowd after the show ended. “I might get fired for this, but…”

ADVERTISEMENT

At The CW, LIV has found what it’s been hoping for all along in a broadcast partner: a national television network (the 21st most watched in the United States in 2021 by average primetime viewership) with a small audience and scheduling flexibility. The agreement will bring the league’s 14 events to nearly 100 million American homes in 2023, a huge potential audience as LIV seeks to further establish its legitimacy in the world of golf.

The latest agreement marks a marked shift for The CW’s owners, Nexstar Television, toward creating a cable TV giant. Nexstar, which owns about 197 domestic television stations across the United States, bought a 75 percent stake in The CW in August in an apparent effort to diversify its broadcast portfolio. In recent years, Nexstar’s success in launching the NewsNation news channel has prompted some optimism that the company will attempt to operate a network in addition to its local news stations.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we own a broadcast network and maybe other cable networks that we put on top of our local content foundation,” Nexstar CEO Perry Sock said next one Shortly before the CW acquisition was announced in August.

Sports has always been a successful driver of driving intrigue and interest on the network platform. In its first sports TV partner, Nexstar could test the waters with a league with untapped upside and very little risk — continuing a $2 billion gamble that will help lift the CW content offering’s profile on its way to profitability.

“Over time, we will take a different approach to our CW programming strategy and leverage our experience of spending nearly $2 billion a year on programming, attracting and monetizing viewers, and moving NewsNation, our national cable news network, from WGN,” while Tom Carter said. , Nexstar’s chief operating officer, on an earnings call to announce the sale.

ADVERTISEMENT

Certain ripples from the agreement are sure to raise some eyebrows at PGA Tour headquarters: Two of the PGA Tour’s current broadcast partners, Warner Media (Discovery) and Paramount (CBS), own minority stakes in The CW. The two media giants — and former owners of The CW — retained 12.5 percent stakes in the company as part of the sale to Nexstar. It was not immediately clear if either company could see their ownership status affected by the potential LIV agreement.

A spokeswoman for LIV Golf declined to comment, while a spokesperson for Nexstar did not immediately respond to requests for comment. LIV’s first scheduled event for 2023 is February 24-26 at El Camaleón Golf Course in Mayakoba.

James Colgan

Golf.com editor

James Colgan is an assistant editor at GOLF, contributing stories to the website and the magazine. He writes Hot Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and uses his broadcasting expertise across social media and brand video platforms. James, a 2019 graduate of Syracuse University—and his golf obviously—is still melting four years ago in the snow. Before joining GOLF, James was a scholarship holder (and a clever looper) on Long Island, where he’s from. He can be reached at [email protected]

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
%d bloggers like this: