The CW Network has entered into an agreement to broadcast and stream LIV Golf tournaments.
The Burbank network, owned by Nexstar Media Group Inc., will become LIV’s exclusive broadcast partner with a multi-year agreement starting with this year’s LIV Golf League season, according to a release from The CW.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
The network is not paying an upfront fee, according to people familiar with the negotiations who were not authorized to comment. Instead, it will sell commercial time for the events and share the revenue with LIV Golf, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times.
Dennis Miller, president of The CW Network, said that the partnership between it and LIV will deliver a new audience for the golf tournament broadcasts.
“With CW’s broadcasts and streams, more fans across the country and around the globe can partake in the LIV Golf energy and view its innovative competition that has reimagined the sport for players, fans and the game of golf,” Miller said in a statement.
Described in the L.A. Times story as a deep-pockted competitor to the PGA, LIV Golf is backed by the Public Investment Fund, owned by Saudi Arabia. The league has been criticized as a means for the Saudi government to distract public attention from its record of human rights violations that include torturing prisoners and people detained by police, criminalizing public protests and discrimination against women, the Times story said.
“For years, investors from Saudi Arabia have been looking to increase their stakes in the U.S. entertainment industry. Saudi businessman Adel Ghazzawi sits on the board of Triller and is an investor in the Century City-based video-sharing social network,” the Times story added.
The release from The CW makes no mention of the connection to Saudi Arabia.
Weekend tournaments will air live on Saturdays and Sundays on The CW and on Fridays on The CW App. The first televised tournament takes place in February at the Mayakoba Resort’s El Camaleón course in Mexico.
LIV will continue to produce its coverage of the tournaments with its in-house team and will maintain the format and style used in the 2022 Invitatiional season. LIV’s coverage includes a shotgun start, distinctive live leaderboard, enhanced drone coverage, statistics-driven graphics, and fast-paced coverage featuring nearly twice as many golf shots per hour than traditional golf coverage, the CW release said.
The LIV on-air announce team will see its on-air talent squad return, with Arlo White leading play-by-play alongside analysts David Feherty and Jerry Foltz in the booth, and Dom Boulet, Su-Ann Heng, and Troy Mullins providing coverage on the course and in feature segments, the release added.
Greg Norman, chief executive and commissioner of LIV Golf, said the partnership with The CW was 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,” Norman said in a statement. “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 deal marks the first time in the network’s history that it is the exclusive broadast home for live mainstream sports, Miller said.
“For The CW, our partnership with LIV Golf marks a significant milestone in our goal to re-engineer the network with quality, diversified programming for our viewers, advertisers and CW affiliates,” Miller said in a statement.