Dustin Johnson heads to “Riverdale”… LIV Golf (finally) has a TV partner. Yesterday the Saudi-backed golf tour sealed a multiyear broadcast deal with the CW network. You might remember the CW for cult-fave teen dramas like “Gossip Girl” and “Vampire Diaries.” Starting next month, LIV will air 14 events on CW’s weekend broadcast and on its app. Before, you could stream LIV only online (think: YouTube).
Teed up: LIV has caused a stir since its debut last year. It spent billions to poach several top players and host flashy golf tournaments that look more like music festivals.
Gloves on: LIV is in a heated legal dispute with US rival PGA Tour (LIV accused the legacy golf group of monopolizing the sport).
Scrambling for screen time… LIV has struggled to secure key revenue streams like TV rights and sponsors. It’s burning cash, courtesy of billions in Saudi backing. Legacy sports broadcasters like CBS, Comcast’s NBC, and Disney’s ESPN have avoided working with LIV, because they also stream PGA events. The PGA earns about $600M/year through broadcast deals, and that revenue covers more than half its tournament purses.
Home is where the eyeballs are… and for LIV network TV could mean millions more viewers. CW is not the go-to broadcaster for golf, but its youthful audience and well-known brand could help LIV reel in old fans and fresh faces. And for CW, LIV’s top-tier players could attract new audiences. In a best-case scenario, LIV could earn up to $410M in broadcast rights by 2028 — but it’ll have to settle its PGA beef first.