LIV Golf nearing cable TV deal with Fox Sports, per report
In LIV Golf’s short time in existence, it has been among the most pressing questions regarding its long-term viability: What are the prospects for getting a television deal that would deliver a far larger audience than its current life on YouTube?
We may be closer to getting an answer, even if it still leaves nearly as many questions about how it could all work out in the end.
According to a report posted by Golfweek on Tuesday night, citing multiple unnamed sources, LIV Golf is nearing a deal in which it would purchase airtime on U.S. cable television for its events to appear on Fox Sports 1. So, unlike most sports television deals in which the networks pay rights fees to show league or tour competitions, LIV, which is funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, would purchase the time and then be responsible for selling its own advertising. Additionally, it would pay the costs of producing the broadcasts.
Citing a source familiar with the specifics of the negotiations, Golfweek reported that LIV asked to receive a rights fee in Year 2 of any deal, as well as a guaranteed time slot, but both requests were rejected by Fox.
It is unclear, Golfweek said, if the deal would begin this year or in 2023, when LIV plans a full slate of 14 events that will run February through September. The fledgling circuit has held five events thus far, with three more scheduled in October—in Bangkok, Thailand; Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; and at Trump Doral in Miami.
In mid-September, while making media rounds before the LIV event outside Chicago, LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman told a local radio station that "the interest coming across our plate [to broadcast LIV] right now is enormous.
“We’re talking to four different networks,” Norman continued. “And live conversations where offers are being put on the table. Because [the networks] can see the value of our product, they can see what we’re delivering in the four-and-a-half-hour window.”
On Wednesday night, the Associated Press reported that LIV Golf issued a statement saying the Golfweek report was “incomplete and inaccurate.”
“As we have stated previously, LIV Golf is just beginning its process and is in active discussions with several companies about broadcasting the LIV Golf League,” LIV Golf told the AP. “We caution that no one should draw any conclusions about potential media rights given that we are still in the middle of negotiations with several outlets.”
In reality, LIV has faced formidable barriers to many of the top networks and streaming services because of the media companies' current ties to the PGA Tour, their disinterest in golf or their concerns about aligning with a circuit that is controversial because of its ties to a Saudi Arabian kingdom with a history of human rights violations.