Amazon and Apple were each quick to turn down LIV Golf when the controversial PGA Tour competitor approached the companies to host his tournaments on their respective streaming services, the the wall street journal reported A crucial blow on Thursday as LIV seek a big broadcast deal to bolster their bottom line, although the Saudi-funded league continues to express optimism about the negotiations.
LIV’s discussions with Amazon and Apple never reached a serious stage, according to Logciting sources familiar with the matter – even as the two companies desperately push into live sports.
The news comes a day after LIV CEO Greg Norman said there is “huge” interest in acquiring the media rights to the tour, saying the tour has received offers and is in active discussions with four networks.
However, LIV’s remaining contenders are slim with Amazon and Apple out of the fold: CBS, ESPN and NBC are all closely tied to the PGA Tour, leaving only Fox among the major US networks.
Considering Fox Sports chose to withdraw of his brief five-year stint broadcasting the US Open in 2020 and even fired Norman in 2016 after a season as a broadcaster on the network, Fox also seems like an unlikely match.
There are still several other more creative options that LIV could pursue to expand its reach, including purchasing broadcast time on a network, which the New York Times reported he considered earlier this year or going straight to a regional station, which LIV media chief Will Staeger Told the Washington Post was on the table in July.
“The numerical numbers we’re seeing make us very optimistic about the ratings we expect to see on linear television when we find the right partner,” Staeger said. Forbes Thursday. Staeger declined to comment on the nature of LIV’s negotiations with specific partners.
Apple and Amazon did not respond Forbes‘ request for comment. Barstool Sports’ Daniel Rapaport, formerly of golf summary, reported On Tuesday, Apple declined to pursue LIV’s rights, with a source telling it the company felt LIV was “too toxic.” The LIV, which is funded by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, has been accused of being a public relations vehicle to “sportswash” the history of the Saudi government’s human rights abuses. The tour lured many top golfers away from the PGA Tour through massive contracts. Although Saudi funding may be unlimited, the tour aspires to generate profits, and Atul Khosla, president and chief operating officer of LIV, said Forbes the tour’s long-term business model will be based on “broadcast revenue followed by sponsorship revenue.” Commitment from top players and fan interest in LIV’s unique on-course format will likely earn the tour a nine-figure annual rights deal.
Basketball Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen appeared at LIV’s pro-fan event Thursday before the LIV tournament in Chicago and filmed promotional material for the tour, Staeger said. Pippen, who won six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls, follows in the footsteps of Baseball Hall of Famer and Boston Red Sox great David Ortiz, who played a similar role at the LIV tournament in Boston earlier this month- this.
Thursday’s contest between the Kansas Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers will be the first NFL game to stream exclusively on Amazon Prime, kicking off the 11-year, $13 billion deal. Amazon with the league to broadcast 15 Thursday night games per season. Apple is close to Amazon in live sports streaming, signing deals worth around $3 billion to stream MLB and MLS games.
Apple and Amazon have sold media rights to LIV Golf (the wall street journal)
Majors, monopolies, megabucks and Donald Trump: behind the scenes of the new Saudi golf league (Forbes)
LIV Golf’s Future On US TV Is Uncertain, But It Definitely Has One (Washington Post)