This accusation by the association turned Leaf into a public relations disaster, with accusations that the tour was a Saudi attempt to “launder” their pieces. HR scored with long green drives and short dramatic shots. LIV has proven to be such a bad idea that it has yet to win a major network television contract. But that is likely to change. According to golf weekThe tour looks close to a deal with Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Sports 1, but the deal has an upside: Instead of Fox paying LIV to broadcast tournaments, the standard for sports entertainment, LIV will pay Fox. (The last sports company to pay for its broadcast was the NFL, and we know how that ends.) Plus, LIV would have to sell ad spots, not Fox, and produce shows.
What prevented the Saudis from starting the tour, and why would they pay to broadcast their product when the PGA Tour collects $700 million a year from broadcasters after a similar play? And what does Murdoch have to do with it? Why not worry about a slew of 9/11 families gloating about the LIV Championship at Trump’s badminton tournament as “Another atrocity, and what’s Trump’s take on it all?” It’s all about the political clash with trade.
For the Saudi professional golf accident and achievements two points. The first is, of course, political. In the short term, they hope, LIV will help undermine the image the West maintains of an authoritarian state that killed dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. (The strike was reportedly ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia..) In the long run, LIV believes that the billions it spends on its tour, the lucrative PGA as the face of the sport will replace and ultimately profit. With almost unlimited money at their disposal, the Saudis think they can’t be counted out.
But can the Saudis overcome the existing stigma so easily? Watching golf on TV is niche compared to other sports, with only the final round of the Masters being shown. The Top 50 Sports to Watch in 2021 Golf is appealing to broadcasters as its affluent audience responds to advertisements for luxury cars and other expensive goods. But if the protesters succeed in associating the LIV brand with the repressive regime, and there is a good chance they will, luxury automakers may decide to stick with their advertising. TV sports are supposed to make people happy. A protest campaign that plunges LIV into the red will extinguish that happiness and replace it with wrinkles.
What the Saudis didn’t take into account when they started their own tour was the fact that TV is the tail that wags the golf dog. Long-term contracts held by existing golf networks – CBS, NBC, NBC Golf Channel, Disney’s ESPN, Warner Bros. Discover – essentially make them partners in the professional golf business. Without them, the PGA Tour would have collapsed. So while LIV Golf is an obvious attack on the PGA, it’s also an attack on the network’s control of the golf television audience, so it’s not in their best interest to help the market’s newcomer.
Fox, who was out of the golf hood in 2020, had no interest in the current golf TV business, so he was a natural fit for LIV. For Murdoch, it’s all business, and he doesn’t hesitate to take the Saudi money. At one point, a Saudi prince held a 6.6% stake in his factories. But in broadcasting LIV Golf, Robert is ready to do a lot. First, it would guarantee him a profit, and second, by doing the Saudis a favor by taking their money, he would obtain cheats that he could potentially recover in the future. But what about bad publicity? At this point in his career, Murdoch’s reputation can’t tarnish much, so if protesters sat down at Fox headquarters, he’d likely pay as much attention to them as the Tucker Carlson protesters.
Trump’s participation is just a bargain. The PGA, which was to play the 2022 tournament in Trump’s badminton tournament, threw the event off its schedule days after the Jan. 6 riots. Trump responded by urging golfers to switch from PGA to LIV. Why the Saudis think that association with Trump, who helped sink the decades-old planned USFL, would help their cause is anyone’s guess. Have they never heard of Trump University, Trump Water, Trump Mortgage or any of his other failed ventures? LIV’s association with Trump is a measure of how desperate they are to break the sport. More evidence of their desperation can be found in the report Sports Business Magazine Because Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, who secured $2 billion in financing for his own company in 2021 from the same Saudi fund, did business last month trying to get a TV deal.
Starting a new professional league is hard work, even if you have a $600 billion sovereign wealth fund to back you. With partners like Trump, promoters like Kushner, and a network like Murdoch raising money to broadcast it, does LIV have a chance? Is there really a national audience for a golf ad selling Saudi? And at what point will the Saudis get so desperate that they take the next step and pay viewers to watch?
LIV is not an acronym. It is “54” in Roman numerals. It represents the number of holes golfers play in a match (as opposed to PGA’s 72). [email protected]. There are currently no new subscribers to respected email alerts. Mine Twitter Feed has a limit of five. Mine RSS The Fed never saw a golf course it didn’t want.
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