LIV Golf set to pay to run tournaments on Fox Sports

LIV Golf is set to strike a deal to buy airtime for its tournaments on US cable TV, multiple sources have said. golf week. The potential deal – which is still being finalized – is with Fox Sports 1.

While media companies typically pay sports leagues hefty rights fees to air their products, the deal would not see LIV receive payment, a source familiar with the talks said. Instead, LIV – which is controversially funded by the Saudi regime’s Public Investment Fund – would buy time on the cable channel to broadcast its events, a move that will be widely interpreted as a failure to generate commercial interest. serious about what she offers.

Just two weeks ago, LIV CEO Greg Norman said he was getting a lot of interest from media companies wanting to broadcast LIV tournaments.

“We talk to four different networks and live conversations where offers are put on the table,” he told ESPN. “They can see what we deliver.”

A well-placed industry executive says LIV tried to approach several broadcasters, including NBC, CBS, Disney, Apple and Amazon, and Fox Sports only got involved at the request of chairman Lachlan Murdoch. executive and CEO of Fox Corp. Last month, Sports Business Journal reported that Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner called broadcasters trying to drum up interest in a LIV TV 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 the second year 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 details of the conversations. Fox is believed to have offered to reevaluate the network’s placement at a later date. LIV will also be responsible for producing its tournament broadcasts and selling commercial sponsorships during its timeslots, both of which would typically fall to a broadcast partner.

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

LIV has been widely criticized as a sport-washing effort by the Saudi regime to distract from its poor human rights record. A LIV tournament held this summer at Trump Bedminster in New Jersey has sparked protests from families of 9/11 victims, who point to Saudi involvement in the terror attacks.

Sources say the LIV-Fox deal is nearing completion but has yet to be officially signed, and it’s unclear whether it will go into effect in 2023 or earlier. LIV has three remaining events scheduled in 2022. All will be played next month, in Bangkok, Thailand; Jeddah. Saudi Arabia; and at the Trump Doral in Miami.

Comments are closed.