Struggling for Viewers, LIV Golf Looking to Produce a “Drive to Survive” Series

The success of the Formula 1-focused series on Netflix has led to the creation of a number of other reality-based sports shows 

Greg Norman, CEO and commissioner of LIV Golf, speaks during a welcome party.
LIV Golf CEO and commissioner Greg Norman may look to Netflix for inspiration.
Joe Scarnici/LIV Golf via Getty

Already so desperate for viewership that paying Fox Sports for airtime was reportedly being discussed, LIV Golf is now looking into producing a reality-based sports show that would follow the model Netflix has established with Formula 1: Drive to Survive in an effort to deepen fan engagement, according to Bloomberg.

“Representatives for LIV Golf have approached production companies and would then shop any potential show to a streaming service or TV network,” per the business publication. “The efforts have not yet resulted in a deal. A spokeswoman for LIV declined to comment.”

LIV Golf, which has failed to land a TV deal with a major partner despite  CEO Greg Norman‘s claims that the Saudi-backed golf tour has received “enormous” interest from U.S. broadcasters, would be wise to figure out a way to get its product and players in front of viewers as the upstart circuit is days away from having played an entire season without earning a penny for its media rights despite paying millions for a broadcast crew for streaming purposes.

Streaming is clearly not the answer for LIV, as the series has gotten killed in viewership compared to the PGA Tour, which has an All-Star trio of network partners in CBS, NBC and ESPN. “LIV’s final-round coverage has regularly struggled to reach half of the PGA Tour’s average third-round audience of 1.8 million viewers, while coverage from the league’s international stops has struggled to reach one-fifth of the Tour average,” according to GOLF.

Taking all of that into account, a LIV version of Drive to Survive could be exactly what the doctor ordered, although that series would have to compete with forthcoming Netflix shows about the PGA Tour as well as tennis players in the four Grand Slams, the ATP and WTA tours. 

It won’t be on broadcast television, but LIV’s final tournament of the season will be held this weekend in Miami. Taking place at the Trump National Doral Golf Club, the LIV Golf Miami Team Championship will feature a Pro-Am event, and Donald Trump is expected to take part just like he did at the Bedminster Invitational in New Jersey in July.

Trump, 76, played alongside Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau at the New Jersey event. “He’s actually a really good golfer. He stripes it down the middle of the fairway and has good iron game and putts it pretty well,” DeChambeau said of the former president, who is known to have a fairly creative scoring system on the course.

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