It Appears LIV Golf Is Ashamed of Its TV Ratings on The CW

After holding six events this year, the breakaway league has stopped publicly reporting its viewership numbers

Branden Grace hits a tee shot at the LIV Golf Invitational in Tulsa.
We'll never know how many viewers saw Branden Grace at the LIV Golf Invitational in Tulsa.
Ian Maule/Getty

On Wednesday night with the Celtics trailing the Heat in the fourth quarter in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, YouTube TV crashed and viewers were unable to see Miami hold on to win 123-116 in Boston. For different reasons, many LIV Golf fans who were watching the conclusion of the Saudi-backed circuit’s Sunday tournament in Tulsa on The CW were not able to see Dustin Johnson battling Cameron Smith and Branden Grace.


Due to the agreement that LIV Golf has with The CW, the network’s affiliates are only required to show the tour’s events during designated time windows. So when Sunday’s event went long due to a two-hour weather delay, many local affiliates switched over to regularly scheduled programming including game shows, parades and episodes of series including Murdoch Mysteries, Dawson’s Creek and Black-ish, instead of showing the end of the tournament. Embarrassing as it may be for LIV Golf, the affiliate stations may have known what they were doing as the first event of the golf circuit’s sophomore season was beaten out by another piece of CW programming…World’s Funniest Animals.

LIV Golf’s TV Ratings on The CW Are Latest Embarrassment for Saudi-Backed Series
The network’s broadcast of “World’s Funniest Animals” drew more viewers

LIV’s season-opening broadcast in Mexico drew 537,000 average viewers, a number that dropped to 409,000 for its second event in Tucson. The league has held four events since Tucson, including Sunday’s tourney in Tulsa, but LIV has not released viewership data for any of those four events. That’s apparently going to be par for the course moving forward as the breakaway league will not be reporting viewership data from its U.S. broadcasts moving forward, according to Golf‘s Hot Mic.

That may actually be a smart move as there’s no way LIV Golf has a shot at competing with the PGA Tour for TV ratings (and we’ll see this weekend at the PGA Championship if LIV’s players can compete with the Tour’s golfers) so keeping the width of the viewership gap concealed makes sense.

Speaking during a media conference hosted by Wall Street research firm SVB MoffettNathanson, Perry Sook, CEO of The CW’s parent company Nexstar, described LIV as “Mr. Right Now” and said dealing with the new league “requires commitment, but it also requires patience.”

“We had to go get it and we had to do a lot of selling but we did get it,” he said. “They were willing to take a chance with us. We were willing to take a chance with them. I think both parties are pleased.”

Just not with the ratings.

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