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Aside from Amazon and Apple who else has said no to streaming LIV Golf?

With accusations of ‘sportwashing’ only intensifying, the two streaming giants have seemingly dodged a bullet, but the league isn’t concerned.

Update:
Aside from Amazon and Apple who else has said no to streaming LIV Golf?
Charles Laberge/LIV GolfGetty

With no television rights deal in place, the fledgling league has had to rely on streaming, but the list of services that have passed on the Saudi backed tour continues to grow.

Amazon and Apple the latest to say no to LIV Golf

According to reports this week, Amazon and Apple have both declined to carry LIV on their platforms. The pair, are of course the latest and perhaps biggest platforms in the fast-growing market of live sports streaming. They join the likes of ESPN, CBS, NBC and Fox who have all similarly refused to carry the Saudi-backed league on their platforms.

Where the aforementioned major networks are concerned, the news is not particularly surprising, in that they all have deals in place with LIV Golf’s major rival, the PGA Tour. On the other hand, where Amazon and Apple are concerned, the move does raise eyebrows somewhat. Amazon of course, is about to initiate its “Thursday Night Football” broadcast having paid an eye opening $100 billion to carry the NFL’s games. Apple has also made a recent foray into the sports world, with a $2.5 billion deal with Major League Soccer, while also carrying MLB’s “Friday Night Baseball on Apple TV+. What this all means, is that for the moment LIV Golf will continue to stream its events through its Facebook page and YouTube channel. The league also has a worldwide broadcast deal with DAZN as well as Servus TV and Eleven Sports.

Is LIV Golf bothered by Amazon and Apple?

In truth, it doesn’t seem like LIV’s management is terribly concerned with the apparent ‘roadblocks.’ Indeed, CEO Greg Norman said on Wednesday that LIV is talking with “four different networks” and moreover stated that the interest in the company “is enormous.” Comments also suggested that LIV is still in the initial stages of negotiating its media rights and is aiming to have a deal in place for the start of the league’s first full season in 2023. “We’re bullish about our prospects given our player field and the quality of our product,” LIV Golf Chief Media Officer Will Staeger said.

Stars are joining but LIV Golf’s controversy persists

With 2022 Open Championship winner Cameron Smith the latest to join an already star-studded line up, it’s clear that LIV Golf’s pulling power is as strong as ever. Indeed, with names such as Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson to name a few, the new tour has done well in a short space of time, but that has had little effect on the controversy that surrounds it. Funded by the Saudia Arabian government, many have pointed to the long list of human rights violations that the country is known to be guilty of. Indeed, some have even accused the league of being the latest example of ‘sportwashing’ employed by the Middle Eastern kingdom.

Adding a degree of irony to the situation was Mickelson himself, who described the Saudis as “scary” business partners earlier this year. “We know they killed [Washington Post journalist Jamal] Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights,” Mickelson said back in February. “They execute people over there for being gay. Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it [joining LIV]? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shape how the PGA Tour operates. And the Saudi money has finally given us that leverage.” Even Greg Norman himself seemed to downplay the Kingdom’s record saying, “we’ve all made mistakes.”