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What LIV Golf’s TV deal with the CW Network means for the Saudi-backed circuit and golf fans

Gone are the free streams on social media platforms, as the Saudi backed golf league has finally made its first foray into the world of American television. Truly, the PGA now has a real competitor for its market.

Gone are the free streams on social media platforms, as the Saudi backed golf league has finally made its first foray into the world of American television. Truly, the PGA now has a real competitor for its market.
Charles Laberge/LIV GolfGetty

The fledgling golf league has taken yet another important step on the path to legitimacy, with the announcement of a major TV deal with a major network. How that will affect the organization’s product going forward will be an interesting thing to see.

LIV Golf secures television rights deal with CW Network

By now you’ve probably heard the news, but just in case, allow us to tell you that LIV Golf has finally secured the United States television rights deal that it’s been after for some time. In an announcement late last week, the organization indicated that it now has an agreement in place with CW Network which subsequently will be responsible for broadcasting all 14 events of the Saudia Arabian funded golf series. From this year forward, CW Network will be televising the league’s circuit to some 120 million households across the United States. Interestingly, LIV Golf represents the network’s first move into the sporting world, as it has traditionally been one that carries syndicated programming. There has been no official word on the details of what is known to be a multi-year deal.

“This is a momentous day for LIV Golf as this partnership is about more than just media rights,” said LIV Golf CEO and commissioner Greg Norman. “The CW will provide accessibility for our fans and maximum exposure for our athletes and partners. “We’re very proud to note how consequential it is that a league that has only existed for one year has secured a full broadcast deal in its debut full league season.”

Some points to note about LIV Golf

It’s been well documented that LIV Golf has made waves in the golf world. Backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, the tour has slowly but surely syphoned off a number of players from the PGA Tour with the use of massive amounts of money. Some of those players included the likes of World Golf Hall of Fame member Phil Mickelson, two-time major champion Dustin Johnson and 2020 U.S. Open winner Bryson DeChambeau. As one can imagine, such moves were not well received and, in most cases, resulted in the PGA Tour banning players who jumped ship, from the aforementioned high-profile players right down the line.

Since then, we have seen a war of words between both camps with players like Rory McIlroy making his feelings known about the new league and its players, as well as, arbitration resulting from the debate about whether players could be banned or not. We even saw a journalist removed from a press conference for asking Norman some uncomfortable questions about the Saudi Kingdom’s human rights reputation. Indeed, there have been many who have accused LIV Golf of attempting to “sportwash” the Kingdom’s reputation. None the less, here we are with a deal done and LIV Golf ready to go.

CW Network set to help LIV Golf move forward

As per reports, LIV Golf will stage tournaments between February and September. There will be a number of events that simultaneously feature team and individual play with golfers competing for an unprecedented $405 million in prize money. Where the U.S. television deal is specifically concerned, this is undoubtedly a major step forward for a series that was limited to streaming through platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and its official website during last year’s inaugural season.

Regarding its second season, LIV Golf will officially launch its tour once again in Mayakoba, Mexico with an event that will be staged from February 24th to 26th. It is understood, that CW Network will be broadcasting weekend tournaments live on Saturdays and Sundays, while Friday’s rounds will be available via the CW App. “For The CW, our partnership with LIV Golf marks a significant milestone in our goal to re-engineer the network with quality, diversified programming for our viewers, advertisers and CW affiliates,” said CW Network president Dennis Miller in a statement. “This also marks the first time in The CW’s 17-year history that the network is the exclusive broadcast home for live mainstream sports.”