LIV Golf denies report of deal to buy TV time on FS1

Saudi-funded LIV Golf on Tuesday denied reports that it was close to a U.S. television deal that would buy time to air on FS1.

Golfweek, citing multiple unspecified sources, said the deal is still being finalized.

This contradicts what Greg Norman, CEO and commissioner of LIV Golf, told a Chicago radio station two weeks ago, saying: “We’re in conversations with four different networks and have made offers in live conversations. They can See what we’re delivering.”

LIV Golf issued a statement saying the report was “incomplete and inaccurate” and was completed ahead of schedule in its year of existence, including in areas such as broadcast rights.

“As we have said before, LIV Golf has just begun its process and is in active discussions with several companies regarding the broadcast of the LIV Golf League,” the statement said. “We caution that no one should draw any conclusions about potential media rights given that we are still negotiating with multiple media outlets.”

Fox Sports declined to comment.

Networks often pay royalties to broadcast sporting events. For example, the PGA Tour this year began expanding media rights agreements for its events to air on CBS, NBC, Golf Channel and ESPN+. The nine-year deal is valued at an estimated $7 billion.

In this case, LIV Golf will pay for the time period and be responsible for production costs and any advertising to be sold. In the case of certain time purchases, the deal includes some promotional points to let viewers know when it airs.

But any deal, even a single purchase, would provide LIV Golf with what it desperately needed — TV ratings on American linear channels. To lure players, the league has paid hefty signing fees — some reportedly in the $150 million range — and offered $25 million in bonuses per game. It doesn’t have any visible enterprise support.

Getting a major network appears to be a long process, given their existing pact with the PGA Tour and hostility between rival tours, as well as LIV Golf’s deep-pocketed source — Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund — which gives some staging The tournament brought protests over the summer in the United States.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Apple and Amazon are not interested.

LIV Golf is only featured on its YouTube channel, Facebook and its website, and it doesn’t get much viewership.

The series will be played in Thailand and Saudi Arabia next month before wrapping up its inaugural season near Miami for the $50 million team title. The 54-hole event has been moved to finish on Sunday.

It’s unclear if any televised deals will begin in Miami from Oct. 28-30, or wait until 2023, when LIV Golf says it will have a full schedule. The 2023 timeline may not be released until November.

If the purchase is on FS1, September and October could be problematic as the cable network has a steady stream of college football on Saturdays.

Golfweek reports that LIV wants to collect royalties and a guaranteed period in the second year of any deal, but Fox isn’t interested.

Launched in early June, LIV Golf currently boasts 12 of the top 50 players in the world, most notably Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Phil Meeker Sen and Cameron Smith, who officially joined LIV Golf a month after winning the British Open.

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