LIV Golf, backed by Saudi Arabia, reaches a television agreement with The CW

LIV Golf, backed by Saudi Arabia, reaches a television agreement with The CW

top line

LIV Golf and the CW Network have reached a multi-year agreement to bring the Saudi-backed PGA Tour rival to American television, the parties announced Thursday morning, following reports earlier this week that the parties were close to reaching an agreement.

key facts

Financial terms of the deal were not immediately available, though a person familiar with the deal said Forbes it was a mutual “financial benefit” arrangement and confirmed that LIV had not simply bought airtime on the network.

The CW’s first LIV broadcast will be the first league tournament of 2023 next month.

In a statement accompanying the announcement, CW president Dennis Miller called it a “significant milestone” in the network’s restructuring, noting that it marks the first time the CW will be the exclusive broadcaster of a major sporting event.

LIV CEO Greg Norman called it a “momentous day for LIV Golf” in a statement.

key background

Media conglomerate Nexstar Media Group acquired a 75% stake in The CW last August, while Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery retained a 12.5% ​​stake in the network. Sports Illustrated and Front Office Sports reported Tuesday that LIV and CW were close to reaching an agreement. LIV broadcast tournaments during its inaugural 2022 season on its YouTube, Facebook and website, as well as on the London-based DAZN network. Backed by billions from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, LIV swept up scores of PGA Tour golfers last year thanks to often nine-figure signing bonuses, landing players like popular former American winners Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka will abandon ship. The league’s source of funding proved highly controversial, and LIV reportedly failed to generate significant headwinds in negotiations with major networks and broadcasters with sports programming experience, despite its popularity.

amazing fact

Paramount’s CBS is among the PGA Tour’s most lucrative television partners, signing a nine-year deal with the tour in 2020 along with NBC, worth $700 million.

Tangent

Although the CW is best known for its original scripted shows like riverdale Y Supernatural pointing younger audiences, Nexstar said last year that the average age of the CW’s median viewer is 58, and the network’s new owner vowed to focus on cheaper original programming as part of its effort to make the network profitable.

Other reading

LIV Golf is reportedly about to finally land as a television partner: The CW (Forbes)

Majors, Monopolies, Megabucks and Donald Trump: inside the business of the new Saudi golf league (Forbes)

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