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Reports: LIV Golf Is Nearing A Deal To BUY Broadcast Time On Fox Sports (And Not The Other Way Around)

Golfweek - LIV Golf is nearing a deal to purchase air time for its tournaments on U.S. cable television, multiple sources have told Golfweek. The potential agreement — which is still being finalized — is with Fox Sports 1.

While media companies typically pay sports leagues a substantial rights fee to air their products, the deal would not see LIV receive payment, said a source familiar with the discussions. Instead, LIV — which is controversially financed by the Saudi Arabian regime’s Public Investment Fund — would buy time on the cable channel to air its events, a move that will be widely interpreted as a failure to attract serious commercial interest in what it is offering.

Just two weeks ago, the CEO of LIV, Greg Norman, said he was fielding intense interest from media companies eager to broadcast LIV tournaments.

“We’re talking to four different networks, and live conversations where offers are being put on the table,” he told ESPN. “They can see what we’re delivering.”

A well-placed industry executive says LIV struck out with approaches to multiple broadcasters, including NBC, CBS, Disney, Apple and Amazon, and that Fox Sports got involved only at the behest of Lachlan Murdoch, the executive chairman and CEO of Fox Corp. Last month, Sports Business Journal reported that Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of Donald Trump, had been calling broadcasters trying to generate interest in a LIV television package. In 2021, Kushner’s private equity firm, Affinity Partners, secured $2 billion in funding from the Saudi Public Investment Fund.

“There were people at Fox who wanted nothing to do with this,” the source said. “They were forced to do it.”

LIV requested a rights fee for year two of any deal and a guaranteed time slot on network television but both proposals were rejected by Fox, according to a source familiar with the specifics of the conversations. It is believed Fox has offered to re-evaluate network placement at a later date. LIV will also be responsible for the production of its tournament broadcasts and for selling commercial sponsorships during its time slots, two tasks that would usually fall to a broadcast partner.

“Any advertiser who touches this will get blasted,” a longtime sports TV executive said. “It’s a weak product but it’s a tainted product on top of that.”

Well ain't that somethin. Our guy Dan Rapaported a couple weeks ago that Apple had considered but ultimately decided LIV Golf wasn't for them. Turns out it ain't for nobody else either. Unless.... of course... LIV is willing to pay THEM. Oh, and produce it and sell commercials for it themselves as well.

Wild. That's virtually unprecedented. What's even crazier is that sports broadcasting is all the rage amongst networks these days. It's the bee's knees. It's the cat's meow. It's basically the last thing cable networks can still try to sell to consumers to sway them away from cutting the cord and saying bye to their networks forever. Look at how much Amazon just shelled out for Thursday Night Football. It's competitive as helllll out there for sports TV rights. Teams and leagues have been absolutely ROLLING in it the past 15 or so years from broadcasting rights deals, which is why pro sports team valuations have skyrocketed in that period of time. 

LIV Golf though? Left empty handed at the dance. Which I'll be honest, I'm a little surprised by. As time has progressed and they've gathered more talent and played more tournaments, it felt like the stink of LIV had started to fade. They've taken some serious steps towards being legitimized. But this is a HUGE step for them, maybe the biggest, and one that they need desperately. It's hard to consider their efforts to find a broadcast partner anything but a failure if they're the ones paying for it. Needless to say, the stink is still very real, y'all. 

Now of course, they could throw this thing on the tube and folks across middle America could love what they have to offer. Despite the embarrassment of paying for the right to be on TV, LIV doesn't have much choice here but to push their chips in the middle and hope for the best. Network TV is the natural progression for them and like any startup, no momentum is moving backwards. They simply can't stand pat. But they've got a real uphill battle given that last quote. No advertiser is going to want to touch their shit, at least not any time soon. Maybe that changes, but if it doesn't... LIV Golf will continue to hemorrhage money. Who knows how long that can continue? That's been the question from day 1....