The Saudi-backed LIV series may be “golf but louder” — but no one is watching.
Airing for the first time on television via The CW Network after previously only being available to stream online, the LIV Golf series made its 2023 debut last weekend at Mayakoba in Mexico. The first event in LIV’s second season was a victory for winner Charles Howell III, but it was a major loss for LIV Golf as the upstart circuit’s Saturday and Sunday broadcasts drew an average of just 289,000 viewers and captured a .18 household rating. In comparison, the PGA Tour’s weekend broadcasts on NBC brought in more than two million viewers and averaged a 1.24 household rating, according to Golf.com.
Even more humiliating, LIV’s broadcasts were beaten out by another piece of CW programming…World’s Funniest Animals.
The XFL, which debuted two weekends ago, had a terrible second week in the ratings department as viewership was down about 50% and down 68% from Week 2 of the prior XFL three years ago. However, Week 2 of the XFL still averaged 655,000 viewers on ESPN, ESPN2 and FX, more than double the number of people who watched LIV.
One of the reasons why Greg Norman’s league, which may not make it through two more years, fared so poorly is that many prime CW affiliates skipped coverage of LIV Golf. Despite the rocky start, Perry Sook, the CEO of the CW’s parent company Nexstar said he was pleased with LIV’s debut on an earnings call earlier this week.
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“Those numbers exceeded our expectations and, and most importantly, the affiliates, as well as our own stations, were thrilled,” he said, via The Hollywood Reporter. “I know that our affiliates and CW affiliates in the top 10 markets generated about three times the amount of money that the network generated for this first outing, and so it’s selling very well, and you know, and I think will continue to grow as we get more into the season and more involved.”
The second tournament of LIV’s 14-event schedule starts on March 17 at The Gallery Golf Club in Arizona. Given that the NCAA’s annual March Madness tournament will have tipped off earlier that week, it’s almost a slam dunk that no one will be watching, again.