LIV Golf, a Pro Tour launched last year with the backing of the Saudi government, has finally signed a US television deal.
The tour signed a multi-year deal with The CW and helped the broadcast network move closer to its goal of delivering more live sports. Nexstar Media Group acquired majority control of The CW last year, with former 50-50 partners Paramount Global and Warner Bros Discovery each holding a 12.5% stake.
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The exclusive rights deal begins with the 2023 LIV season. The CW will air his 14 tour events over his 2023 weekends, including Fridays, live streaming on his CW app. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the rights deal was hampered by the PGA’s strong ties to major media companies such as NBCUniversal and CBS parent company Paramount. In addition to backlash from PGA Tour veterans like Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, many of his LIV tournaments were picketed by protesters who denounced the effort as “sportswashing” by the Saudi government.
Possibility of conducting a LIV tour, both from a political point of view and from the point of view of keeping the PGA away. Livestreams of his LIV events, which are held online, have so far drawn a small audience. All of these factors have kept the bidding from overheating, as has been the case with other recent auctions in the vibrant sports rights arena.
Nexstar is the largest owner of local television stations in the United States and also operates cable network NewsNation, but outside of The CW, Nexstar is not yet a national media player. The network and parent company believe the arrangement has many advantages, even if it means the PGA Championship won’t be aired anytime soon.
The Rights Deal “will bring a whole new audience and add to the growing global excitement for the league,” said CW President Dennis Miller. It marks an important milestone in the goal of redesigning the network with a variety of quality programming for CW affiliates, advertisers, and CW affiliates, and marks the first time the network has become mainstream sports in the CW’s 17-year history. This is the first time that we will exclusively broadcast a live broadcast.”
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