LIV Golf has secured the United States television deal it had been seeking, announcing on Thursday that the CW Network will broadcast all 14 events of the Saudi-backed series.
Beginning this year the CW Network will bring the rebel circuit’s tournaments to 120m households across the US, LIV Golf said in a statement.
“This is a momentous day for LIV Golf as this partnership is about more than just media rights,” said LIV Golf’s CEO and commissioner, Greg Norman. “The CW will provide accessibility for our fans and maximum exposure for our athletes and partners.
“We’re very proud to note how consequential it is that a league that has only existed for one year has secured a full broadcast deal in its debut full league season.
Bankrolled by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, LIV Golf has lured players with guaranteed, big-money paydays and a reduced schedule, while the US-based PGA Tour has suspended members who opted to join the rival circuit.
The “multi-year partnership” represents the first foray into sports programming for the CW, the 16-year-old network best known for dramas targeting younger audiences, such as Riverdale, Supernatural and the Vampire Diaries.
The 54-hole events in the Saudi-funded league will be aired live on Saturdays and Sundays. Friday’s opening rounds will be on the CW App.
The duration and exact financial terms of the partnership have not been disclosed, but Yahoo Sports has reported that LIV Golf is not paying the CW to air its tournaments and the “agreement is mutually financially beneficial to both parties”, citing a LIV source. SI.com has reported that LIV will share revenues from advertising with the CW and will be heavily involved in the promotion of the broadcasts.
LIV Golf will play from February to September and features simultaneous team and individual play with golfers competing for $405m in prize purses. The eight events in LIV’s debut season were broadcast via its website and YouTube.
Among the more high-profile players to join LIV are World Golf Hall of Fame member Phil Mickelson, twice major champion Dustin Johnson and 2020 US Open winner Bryson DeChambeau.
Critics say LIV Golf amounts to blatant “sportswashing” by a nation trying to improve its reputation tarnished by a history of human rights abuses.