The controversial LIV Golf circuit has signed many big names and sparked widespread conversation over the last several months, but one thing it hasn’t had is a deal to broadcast its events on television.
That, according to a report Tuesday night, may be changing soon.
Golfweek, citing multiple sources, reported that LIV Golf is nearing a deal to buy airtime on Fox Sports, one that would see its events broadcast on FS1. The deal is still being finalized, according to the report.
LIV Golf is five events into its inaugural season, with three more on tap before year’s end. It will expand to 14 tournaments in 2023. According to Golfweek, it wasn’t immediately clear if the agreement with Fox Sports, once finalized, would begin this year or next.
Thus far, LIV’s 54-hole shotgun-start events have been streamed on YouTube, as well as on the tour’s website. Commissioner Greg Norman had said earlier this month that LIV was talking to four potential media companies about a partnership, but he did not elaborate.
The deal with Fox Sports, a source told Golfweek, would see LIV buy airtime on the network rather than receive a fee from Fox Sports — which is atypical in the sports rights world. LIV asked for a rights fee for year two of a deal, as well as a guaranteed time slot for its airings, but Fox Sports rejected both, a source familiar with the specifics of the talks told Golfweek. LIV also would be responsible for production and ad sales, per the report.
LIV Golf on Tuesday changed the format for its season-ending team championship at Trump National Doral Miami, scheduled for Oct. 28-30, in an attempt to get more prominent players on the course on the Sunday, in case a media deal is in place by then.
The original format for the $50 million championship included having only two teams on the course Sunday competing for a $16 million winner’s purse. But TV executives wanted more players on the course in the final round, so LIV Golf tweaked its plans to include four four-man teams competing in stroke play in the final round.
A manager of a LIV golfer told ESPN that not having a media rights deal in place, whether it was network TV or streaming, was his biggest concern.
“They said they’re close,” the agent said. “We have to get eyeballs on this.”
More than two dozen PGA Tour members have defected to LIV Golf in recent months, including past major champions Cameron Smith, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka and Bubba Watson. The breakaway tour has been widely criticized due to its financial backing from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.