LIV Golf has refuted claims that it has signed a paid airtime deal with Fox Sports to broadcast its events in the United States.
The Saudi-funded league has struggled to find a streaming rights partner despite its CEO Gregg Norman maintaining they have several offers on the table.
“We’re talking to four different networks, and live conversations where offers are being put on the table. They can see what we’re delivering.”
This led to unconfirmed speculation that LIV has bought airtime on Fox Sports networks in order to reach a larger audience.
The general practice is that networks pay a rights fee to broadcast a sport like PGA Tour‘s estimated $7 billion deal nine-year deal with CBS, NBC, Golf Channel and ESPN+. What LIV is trying to do is a reverse of this process where the league would pay the channel for the time slot and be responsible for the cost of production and any advertising to be sold.
Despite the endless amount of money at their disposal to attract talent, $150 million in some cases, and on offer at each tournament, $25 million each, LIV still needs a tv rights deal to increase its viewership.
Another detrimental factor against LIV Golf and any broadcasting partner is the fact that most channels already have a deal in place with the PGA Tour which has bad blood with the new circuit. LIV’s ties with Saudi Arabia also complicate matters as no broadcasting partner wants to take on negative publicity.
The league has so far broadcast its events on its YouTube channel, Facebook page and personal website with the viewership numbers being modest.
Despite all the problems, the league has managed to snag 12 of the top 50 players in the world ranking including world no.2 Cameron Smith so the streaming rights issue may not be indissoluble.