LIV Golf announces airport TV deal
LIV Golf has found a home for its Friday broadcast coverage. Although fans can’t be at their home to see it.
LIV announced Thursday morning that it reached an agreement with ReachTV, a streaming service that caters to airports. LIV Golf’s Friday coverage had previously only been available through the CW’s streaming app. According to a press release, the agreement begins this week with LIV Golf’s London event.
“This partnership with ReachTV provides additional opportunities for fans on the move to follow LIV Golf’s supercharged action, including live coverage of Friday competition in bars and restaurants throughout North America,” said Will Staeger, LIV Golf’s chief media officer. “Our league is continually looking for innovative ways to connect the sport that we love with new audiences, and this partnership will give travelers more chances to catch many of golf’s biggest stars in action.”
During its inaugural season in 2022, LIV Golf could only be viewed in the U.S. on YouTube or LIV Golf’s website. Golf Digest reported last year that the valuations of LIV Golf franchises, and the long-term viability of the league, hinged on securing a broadcast deal. But nearly all of the major television subsidiaries in the U.S. showed little-to-no interest in LIV Golf in its first few months, sources told Golf Digest. However, in January the CW and LIV announced a multi-year partnership. The CW has more than 200 affiliates in the U.S. and is mostly known for airing syndicated programming. No terms of the deal were released, although multiple published reports state that rather than the CW paying a rights fee to LIV, they will share ad revenue generated from the broadcasts. LIV Golf is also believed to be paying for production fees.
The CW partnership has been somewhat bumpy. Nielsen ratings showed little traction with American audiences, and after LIV disputed those ratings by pushing out its own metrics, stopped self-reporting their market numbers following more audience dips. Then in May more than 80 percent of CW affiliates dropped the LIV Golf Tulsa broadcast as the tournament went down its closing stretch in favor of other previously scheduled programming.
The news comes in the shadow of the surprising announcement that the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund—which is LIV’s financial backer—are partnering for a new joint venture. The leaked framework of the proposed deal, outlines that an “empirical data-driven evaluation” will be done by a board for the new for-profit entity (referred to as “NewCo,” which PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan will lead) that “will determine the ongoing plan and strategy” for LIV Golf’s future. LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman has been telling LIV players and staff members that LIV Golf will return for 2024 and beyond, but there is no guarantee the fledgling circuit will continue, and Norman is not mentioned anywhere in the agreement. There will be a Congressional hearing on the deal next week, although Norman and PIF’s governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan declined to participate.
LIV Golf London’s event begins on Friday.