LIV Golf bosses are weighing up the option to offer live TV rights in the UK free of charge for the expanded 2023 league.
According to a report in the Daily Mail (opens in new tab), the Saudi-funded series has failed to negotiate a deal with a host of potential broadcast partners, leaving execs in a race against time to find a solution ahead of the first event on the 2023 LIV Golf League schedule at the end of February.
One alternative being considered is to give the rights away for nothing in the UK, although such a move would be a further blow in the fledgling series’ bid to turn a profit, having spent more than $1 billion to get it up and running in 2022.
Talks with Sky Sports, BT Sport and Dazn have failed to materialise, as has the rumoured deal with US broadcaster Fox Sports. In 2022, Sky Sports announced new broadcast agreements with both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour, so a partnership with LIV Golf seems unlikely given the ongoing quarrel between the circuits.
The inaugural LIV Golf season was available live through streams on YouTube, Facebook and on the LIV Golf website. However, for the expanded 14-event 2023 league, it was hoped that a TV deal would be in place. On a conference call to media members in November 2022, LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman was optimistic about the breakaway league’s chances.
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“We’re in those discussions right now with a handful of broadcasters,” Norman said. “When that takes place, obviously there’s going to be an acceleration of revenue coming in. We have a number of sponsors that are sitting on the side waiting for this. We anticipate them having a broadcast company before we start the 2023 season.
“And we do know that, quite honestly, a lot of the broadcasters looking at us are very bullish about what we’re delivering. When you look at the average audience that watches golf, the PGA Tour is like 65 and a half [years old]. We’ve got it down below 40 in basically eight events in one year. That was one of our targets and our goals and our business plan. It was to reach down to a younger audience to show them what we can do.”
The second LIV Golf season kicks off on February 24 at El Camaleon Golf Club in Mexico, a course designed by Norman and which formerly hosted the PGA Tour’s Worldwide Technology Championship. So far, only seven events on the expanded calendar have been announced.