With a number of factors lining up during the opening weekend of the LIV Golf season, the fledgling circuit had all the pieces in place to capture a significant TV audience.
However, a playoff between a pair of big names did little to draw viewers to the CW Network, according to reports.
Joaquin Niemann went wire-to-wire to claim his first win on the Saudi-backed circuit at the league’s 2024 opener at Mayakoba’s El Camaleon Golf Course in Mexico following a four-hole playoff in the dark against Sergio Garcia on Sunday. Niemann, who shot a blistering 12-under 59 in the first round, made one final clutch putt to seal the deal for his first win since joining the league. Also, Jon Rahm made his LIV Golf debut, and his newly formed expansion team, Legion XIII, won the team title by four shots at 24 under.
But despite the impressive leaderboard, the cancellation of the final round at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and no NFL playoffs on the schedule, LIV Golf’s event still drew a rating well below that of the PGA Tour, according to Sports TV Ratings.
Pebble Beach PGA (Saturday), CBS: 1.951m
LIV Golf (Saturday), CW: 168K
LIV Golf (Sunday), CW: 432K https://t.co/I7csAFZ3vK
— Sports TV Ratings (@SportsTVRatings) February 6, 2024
Although the head-to-head numbers on Saturday were strongly in favor of the PGA Tour (168K to 1.91M), the Sunday number for LIV Golf did show a significant year-over-year improvement.
LIV’s first event in 2023 received 291K viewers on Sunday, according to Josh Carpenter of the Sports Business Journal. The 2023 Honda Classic, on the other hand, reeled in 2.38 million.
The numbers do not include streaming, which is available on LIV Golf Plus as well as via a pay-per-view YouTube option.