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LIV Golf, CW Network Agree to Multiyear Contract; Will Broadcast 14 Events in 2023

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 19, 2023

DORAL, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 30: Individual champion team Captain Dustin Johnson (C) of 4 Aces GC, second place individual award winner Branden Grace (L) of Stinger GC, and third place individual award winner Peter Uihlein (R) of Smash GC pose on stage after the team championship stroke-play round of the LIV Golf Invitational - Miami at Trump National Doral Miami on October 30, 2022 in Doral, Florida. (Photo by Charles Laberge/LIV Golf via Getty Images)
Charles Laberge/LIV Golf via Getty Images

LIV Golf is finally coming to television in the United States after agreeing to a media rights deal with The CW.

According to Alex Weprin of The Hollywood Reporter, the multiyear contract will begin with the 2023 season and result in 14 LIV Golf tournaments airing on The CW.

Weprin added that the first rounds of LIV Golf tournaments on Fridays will stream exclusively on The CW app, while the second and third rounds on Saturdays and Sundays will be available on both The CW television channel and The CW app.

LIV CEO and commissioner Greg Norman released a statement on the partnership with The CW, saying:

"This is a momentous day for LIV Golf as this partnership is about more than just media rights. The CW's nationwide reach as America's fifth broadcast network, will provide accessibility for our fans and maximum exposure for our athletes and partners. The CW recognizes the enormous interest in and potential of our league and with their support, more fans will experience the energy and innovative competition that LIV Golf is using to reinvigorate the sport."

The CW president Dennis Miller also commented on the arrangement, noting that it is the first time The CW has ever been the exclusive home of "live mainstream sports."

LIV Golf, which is owned by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, debuted last year without a television rights deal. That led to LIV streaming its events on its website, YouTube and Facebook.

In September, Eamon Lynch of Golfweek reported that LIV Golf and Fox were close to a TV rights agreement, however, there were reportedly some hang-ups that prevented a deal from getting done.

Lynch noted that LIV wanted a guaranteed time slot on network TV and a rights fee, but Fox declined. Lynch also reported that had LIV and Fox reached an agreement, it may have required LIV to pay Fox a rights fee, which is highly uncommon.

Weprin reported Thursday that it isn't yet known if LIV Golf will receive a rights fee from The CW or if there may be a revenue-sharing arrangement in place.

LIV Golf has faced multiple challenges, including potential reluctance from television networks to be involved with an entity owned by Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has been accused of "sportswashing," which is the use of sports teams, leagues or events to direct attention away from major issues, such as the country's poor human rights record.

Additionally, LIV Golf is in direct competition with the PGA Tour, which is an institution in golf and has had a strong television presence in the U.S. for decades.

LIV Golf has poached many of the PGA Tour's most recognizable players since last year, including Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Cameron Smith, Brooks Koepka and Patrick Reed, among others.

Thanks to huge payouts, fewer tournaments and fewer rounds, LIV Golf has become an attractive alternative to some of the world's best players.

Now, LIV Golf will have greater exposure than ever before, and it will start with a tournament in Mexico from Feb. 24 through Feb. 26, which will mark LIV's debut on The CW.