LIV Tour Analyst Hints Controversial Golf Tour May Have Found U.S. Broadcast Home
Could the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Tour finally have a broadcast home in the United States? Former PGA pro and LIV Tour analyst David Feherty may have spilled the beans on LIV’s destination — and it’s an unusual name in the world of sports broadcasting.
During a recent appearance at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach, Fla., Feherty made an off-the-cuff comment that may have spoiled his employer’s future broadcast home. “Have you heard of CW?” he said following his show this past Thursday. He then added, “I might get fired for this, but…” which seems to indicate the deal could be announced soon.
That’s right — the PGA Tour’s largest competitor in years may find its traditional broadcast home alongside DC superhero shows and syndicated ’90s-era comedies on The CW. That being said, an upstart sports organization with zero ties to any other broadcast entity could do worse than a station, that was acquired by Nexstar in August, with over 220 affiliates across the country.
While the CW has never had any national sports rights deals in the past, many of its local affiliates are home to local sports broadcasts. In the New York City area, fans can tune into NYC’s CW affiliate WPIX to watch the New York Mets.
No other prominent broadcaster has been willing to partner with LIV for a handful of reasons. On the business side, nearly every major media organization has a relationship with the PGA Tour and they don’t want to jeopardize those deals. On the moral/public relations side, LIV is funded by Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman who has been accused of numerous rights violations and the assassination of Saudi-American journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Despite the concerns brought by MBS’s involvement, apparently The CW’s parent company Nexstar sees more positives than negatives about a potential deal.
To be able to tie LIV Golf into existing sports content, no matter how small it may be, would be a boon for The CW. The network would be able to put out attractive advertising featuring names many casual sports fans know, including Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Ian Poulter, and more. And while LIV definitely needs some more star power this year to balance out the big gets from its inaugural season, the tour does have a solid starting point with its current crop of golfers.
Live sports continue to be a moneymaker for broadcast networks, as 94 of 2022's top 100 broadcasts were sports-related. While golf events like The Masters or The U.S. Open didn’t crack the list, live sports content will still likely draw a higher rating for The CW than another episode of “Two and a Half Men” or the latest installment of “World’s Funniest Animals” which often populate the channels weekend programming.
Unlike the PGA Tour’s season which is already underway, the LIV schedule doesn’t start until Feb. 24, so the tour’s execs still have some time to announce a potential deal with The CW. Last year, LIV matches were streamed on YouTube and on LIVGolf.com, a far cry from the PGA’s pristine time slots on network TV, so even broadcasting matches on The CW would be an upgrade for the controversial upstart tour.