LIV Golf has been dominating the golf world by stealing some of the best players in the league, but one thing it can’t get—media rights.
- The controversial LIV Golf league has spent this past spring and summer securing high-ranked golfers, but the league is coming up short in finding a partner to broadcast its tournaments.
- LIV is a well-financed startup tour competing with the PGA Tour, which sanctions 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.
- The league hasn’t been struggling to secure big golf names, but is struggling to find a platform to stream its tournaments.
- Apple and Amazon turned down the opportunity.
Why it’s news
LIV hasn’t faced too many challenges thus far, but one big one hindering them is no media rights.
The league asked Amazon and Apple about the potential of carrying its events on their streaming platforms, but both companies passed on the offer.
The two tech giants aren’t the first to deny media rights to the league, they follow major networks like ESPN, CBS, NBC, and Fox.
It’s no secret that the PGA and LIV are feuding, as the fledgling golf league is taking players from the PGA. While the PGA has been the main golf source for years, the league has secured many media rights deals which leaves few for LIV to choose from.
CBS, NBC, and ESPN have deals with the PGA Tour, while Fox carries several major sports including National Football League games and college football.
A LIV executive said the tour wanted to make its events available directly to consumers this year to prove its product. Right now, the tour can only be watched on YouTube and the LIV website.
The executive for LIV also said that the league is about to enter into an auction for its media rights. The league plans to have a deal, with a significant rights fee, in place by its 2023 season, according to Beaton.
Backing up a bit
The LIV timeline is a big one.
The new LIV tour was created to compete with the PGA and has pulled many big name golfers away from the famous 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 and continues to add big names to its roster.