LIV Golf lacks one key element—a broadcast deal.
The fledgling golf tour is scooping up the best golfers and talented commentators, but it needs more attention if it’s going to succeed. This past weekend, the controversial Saudi-backed LIV Golf hosted its 54-hole, three-day tournament at Trump National Golf Club.
The tournament had a little bit of everything. Former President Donald Trump was in attendance waving to fans from the first tee and parachuters came crashing onto the course with the American Flags during the events, but fans were not able to watch the festivities on typical broadcast platforms. The new golf league is currently only available on YouTube.
“At the end of the day, we absolutely need a broadcast deal,” LIV Golf COO Atul Khosla said on Yahoo Finance Live. “That is needed for any healthy sports league. Our objective this year has been to stand up the product, let fans take it in, and give us feedback on what’s working, what’s not working. We very much are looking forward to this summer of going into those conversations with broadcasters with the hope of having a broadcast deal for next year.”
LIV Golf is a well-financed startup tour trying to compete with the PGA (Professional Golfers’ Association of America) Tour, which has sanctioned the bulk of pro golf in the country for more than 100 years. LIV is backed by the Public Invest Fund, led by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Legendary Australian golf champion Greg Norman is CEO of LIV Golf.
The new tour has pulled many golfers away from the PGA Tour with promises of hefty checks—creating tremendous tension in the world of golf. For example, LIV will pay Phil Mickelson $200 million to play in the tour, which is nearly double what legend Tiger Woods has earned in prize money during his entire career. LIV gave the world’s number-one golfer Dustin Johnson a four-year, $125 million contract, double his lifetime earnings of $74 million.
Along with players, LIV has also been adding some big names to its broadcast team. In recent weeks popular golf commentator David Feherty joined the startup tour as a broadcast analyst. Reports say Gary McCord could soon be the newest member of LIV’s media team.