Taking a sharp turn into live sports programming, The CW Network has made an exclusive deal with upstart golf tour LIV Golf, a Saudi-funded sports group.
It’s the first U.S. broadcast TV network deal for the new golf league. Financial terms were not disclosed.
For the multi-year deal, The CW Network will air 14 global events this year, which will also be streamed on The CW app. Weekend tournaments will air live on Saturdays and Sundays on The CW and The CW App and on Fridays on The CW App.
“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,” says Dennis Cook, president, The CW Network, in a release.
“This also marks the first time in The CW’s 17-year history that the network is the exclusive broadcast home for live mainstream sports.”
Cook recently took the top job at the network after the biggest U.S. TV station owner, Nexstar Media Group, closed its deal to acquire a majority and controlling stake in the network from longtime equity controlling partners CBS and Warner Bros.
In October, Nexstar closed a deal to acquire 75% of the network.
Nexstar has said it would be making a major shift into non-scripted TV programming -- transitioning its programming from young-skewing dramas and other TV content.
LIV Golf is looking to compete with the bigger PGA Tour for consumer and viewer interest. Some major golf professionals have been lured by the high sports dollars that are paid to LIV Golf athletes who have moved to the tour from the PGA.
"We view this as a win-win for both The CW and LIV Golf," says Curry Baker, media analyst for Guggenheim Securities. Baker says the deal is about premium sports content -- a “programming pivot” -- and an audience demo more in-tune with broadcast TV.
"Cost discipline and revamping the programming slate are key to Nexstar's CW strategy -- and the LIV Golf announcement appears to check both boxes."
I'll watch Liv Golf if it is any good or not since they have big names on the tour. Even know I don't like the Saudis funding Liv Golf Tour.