Sports | September 16, 2022 1:28 pm

Do Networks Really Have “Enormous” Interest in LIV Golf’s Media Rights?

Amazon and Apple have both already passed on the media rights to the Saudi-backed golf circuit, according to reports

Signage on a golf ball at the LIV Golf tournament at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois.
As of now, LIV Golf is mainly available for streaming on YouTube.
Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty

Despite LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman’s recent claims that the Saudi-backed golf tour has generated “enormous” interest from potential U.S. broadcasters, the circuit remains without a media partner and is stuck streaming its product on YouTube and via its own website.

“All I can tell you is that the interest coming across our plate right now is enormous,” Norman told ESPN 1000 Chicago ahead of the this weekend’s LIV Golf Invitational Series event outside of the Windy City. “We’re talking to four different networks — and live conversations where offers are being put on the table. Because [the networks] can see the value of our product. They can see what we’re delivering.”

Amazon and Apple have apparently seen what LIV Golf is bringing to the table and decided it is not for them, as both of those potential landing spots for Norman’s series have both already passed on the media rights to the upstart golf circuit, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The same cannot be said for Fox, which is the leading contender to partner with Norman and his league despite canning him as the network’s lead golf announcer six years ago, sources told Front Office Sports. Though Fox, which opted out of its golf coverage in 2020, declined to comment about a potential deal with LIV Golf, the network would seem to be a natural fit for the rebel series, and Norman is close with the Australian-born Fox owner Ruper Murdoch.

Also, as the PGA Tour already has existing deals with ESPN, CBS and NBC, those networks are less likely to sign a contract to broadcast the Tour’s chief rival. Despite that, LIV’s chief media officer Will Staeger told The Journal he was “bullish” about the circuit’s prospects “given our player field and the quality of our product.”

Speaking to FOS, Staeger said something similar and noted LIV is in discussions with “virtually every major media company” about its broadcast rights. “We want exposure. We want broad viewership,” Staeger said. “We want to be on a platform where viewers are accustomed to watching sports.”

For now, that platform is YouTube.