LIV Golf closing in on TV deal with The CW
LIV Golf appears to finally have its media partner, but it's one that probably nobody could have predicted: The CW.
Why it matters: The anticipated partnership offers the upstart golf tour access to a younger audience and, in turn, offers a live sports option for Nexstar Media, The CW's parent.
The intrigue: On the surface this appears like a mismatched pair: the Saudi-backed big-money golf tour coupled with CW's roster of teen dramas and DC superheroes.
Yes, but: Dig deeper, though, and you can see the logic. The CW has some 220 affiliates around the country and LIV Golf will get prime promotion space. For The CW, the deal achieves its new owner’s goals of broadening its audience at a cheap cost.
Of note: News of this deal broke in the most unconventional way.
- David Feherty, a LIV golf analyst who dabbles in comedy, recently hinted to a West Palm Beach crowd during one of his shows that the Saudi-backed league was closing in on a deal with the network.
- His comments were first reported Tuesday by The Palm Beach Post and were later backed up by reports in Sports Illustrated and others that an agreement was close.
- Per other reports, LIV Golf would be the one paying The CW to broadcast its matches. Representatives for LIV Golf declined to comment, while The CW did not respond to our request for comment.
The big picture: Since launching last year with high-profile PGA defections like Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, LIV has struggled to gain the wide audience it desired.
- Its inaugural season last year was streamed exclusively over YouTube and its own website, drawing paltry audience numbers compared PGA Tour events.
- LIV executives told Axios last year that, because they were instituting a new style of play, they were more focused on getting the league up and running without waiting for a media partner.
- "Our approach has been to launch the product and push it out there for the fans and then have an eye on 2023 and beyond," LIV's chief media officer, Will Staeger, said last summer.
What's next: LIV Golf begins its first full year of play on Feb. 24 with its first event in Mexico.