LIV Golf reaches historic TV partnership with CW Network

LIV Golf, ahead of its second season, made history Thursday. 

The Saudi-backed league and CW Network announced an agreement on an exclusive multiyear exclusive television contract, starting with the 2023 season. It becomes the first television broadcast agreement for LIV Golf, which last season was limited to digital streaming on its official website and on YouTube.

As part of the agreement, of which financial terms were not disclosed, viewers can also watch the matches on the CW app. The network will televise 14 events for the second LIV season. The first rounds of the 2023 schedule will not air on live television, per the announcement, but will instead be available for streaming on the app. The second and third rounds will be broadcast on live TV and on the app on Saturdays and Sundays.

Here’s everything you need to know about the arrangement.

What is CW?

The CW Network is an American television network that is majority-owned by Nexstar Media Group, holding 75% of the share. The network offers various sports and entertainment options.

‘For The CW, our partnership with LIV Golf marks a significant milestone in our goal to re-engineer the network with quality, diversified programming for our viewers, advertisers and CW affiliates,’ Dennis Miller, president of the network, said Thursday in a statement. ‘This also marks the first time in The CW’s 17-year history that the network is the exclusive broadcast home for live mainstream sports.’

The CW broadcast team for LIV Golf events will include Arlo White (play-by-play), David Feherty and Jerry Foltz (in-booth analysts) and Dom Boulet, Su-Ann Heng, and Troy Mullins (on-course coverage and feature reporting).

Why was a TV contract important for LIV Golf?

Since its inception, the executives at LIV Golf have sought an exclusive television deal with an American network as a key element in its growth strategy. LIV Golf is continuing to compete with the PGA Tour and has been seeking to cut into the long-established golf league’s market share.

‘This is a momentous day for LIV Golf as this partnership is about more than just media rights,’ LIV Golf CEO and commissioner Greg Norman said in a statement. ‘The CW’s nationwide reach as America’s fifth broadcast network, will provide accessibility for our fans and maximum exposure for our athletes and partners.’

Last season, Golfweek reported that LIV Golf was close to an agreement in which it would have paid Fox Sports for airtime on its affiliate network, Fox Sports 1. 

What is the LIV Golf schedule?

The full schedule for the 2023 LIV Golf season, which will include 14 tournaments, is yet to be announced, though several dates are already set. The current schedule is as follows:

Feb. 24-26 

Mayakoba’s El Camaleón (Mexico)

March 17-19

The Gallery Golf Club (Tucson, Arizona)

April 21-23

The Grange Golf Club (Adelaide, Australia)

April 28-30

The Serapong at Sentosa Golf Club (Singapore)

May 12-14

Cedar Ridge Country Club (Tulsa, Oklahoma)

June 30-July 2

Real Club Valderrama (Spain)

Aug. 4-6

The Greenbrier (White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia)

Which golfers are scheduled to play in LIV Golf in 2023?

Among the players scheduled to participate in the 2023 LIV Golf Invitational Series are:

Phil Mickelson

Brooks Koepka

Dustin Johnson

Bryson DeChambeau

Sergio García

Cam Smith

Bubba Watson

Louis Oosthuizen

Ian Poulter

Martin Kaymer

Lee Westwood

Patrick Reed

Charl Schwartzel

Talor Gooch

Why is LIV Golf so controversial?

The Public Investment Fund (PIF), the sovereign wealth investment fund of Saudi Arabia and one of the largest in the world, has backed and is financing LIV Golf Investments, the parent company of LIV Golf. As the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman is the head of the PIF. According to a declassified U.S. intelligence report released in February 2021, Salman approved an operation ‘to capture or kill’ Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi inside a Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, 2018.

The Saudi government is accused of other human rights violations and has invested in Western athletic opportunities in an apparent attempt to improve its image, a practice known as ‘sportswashing.’

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