Amazon and Apple have reportedly rejected offers to acquire the tour’s media rights, joining several traditional TV networks.
The Saudi-backed golf league has been hosting its tournaments on Facebook Live feeds and their own YouTube channel, but no television partner will take them on. Despite dominating the headlines with big names and hype around prize purses, they simply aren’t ringing in high enough viewership numbers to compete with PGA Golf.
Take, for example, the PGA’s Rocket Mortgage Classic in July, which garnered 2.5 million viewers. On the other side, LIV topped out at 115,000 viewers on their YouTube channel and fewer than 1,000 on the Facebook Live Feed during an August tournament in New Jersey. Not to mention that tickets went for $1 on the secondary market.
Thus, the sparkly new toy in the golf world known as LIV has hit a giant wall.
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that both Amazon and Apple rejected LIV’s offer to acquire its media rights. The same rings true for television networks such as ESPN, CBS, NBC, Fox, and Warner Bros Discovery.
What’s in the way? For starters, most of these networks are already committed to the PGA Tour.
Secondly, and perhaps as importantly, some believe the LIV Golf Tournament might be “too toxic.” It’s a league that was built by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund in an effort to repair the country’s image, tarnished by a disregard for human rights. LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman even went as far as to brush off the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi inside a Saudi consulate — an operation that the country’s crown prince green-lit — by saying “look, we’ve all made mistakes.”
Still, money talks, and that’s why LIV has lured some of the game’s best, including Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, and Cameron Smith. More recently, they’ve lured in college superstars like David Puig and Eugenio Chacarra.
The question becomes: Who will become the hosting television network for LIV Golf — and when? If anyone at all.
Stay tuned. If you can.