No arrival of new players, departure of a senior official a month after that of the operational director and still no paid broadcasting planned for the moment on British or American channels. Bad news is piling up this winter for Greg Norman’s circuit.
Despite the announcement of a strong calendar of 14 tournaments against 8 last year, has the LIV Golf Invitational Series already lost its power of attraction? After the surprise departure of its emblematic operational director Atul Khosla last month, it is the turn of the director of franchises Matt Goodman, to leave the ship.
This important leader had joined the organization in May.
Building its franchise model is central to LIV’s unique NBA-like business structure. Goodman was responsible for leading strategy and operations for the 12 teams comprising development and revenue.
He also had a role in controlling the image of the brand in connection with innovation. Other information revealed across the Channel by the Daily Mail, the Saudi circuit does not interest Sky Sports, BT Sport or DAZN, all these channels which were approached but refused to pay to widely broadcast the exploits of Louis Oosthuizen, Cam Smith, Mark Leishman, Patrick Reed, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Dustin Johnson and others.
Yet last year, DAZN purchased the inaugural season rights to broadcast LIV Golf tournaments in Europe, including Germany, Italy and Spain, and follow up in Japan. In the USA, Disney and Amazon have also declined LIV Golf’s proposals and the agreement that seemed to have been reached with FOX Sports for a broadcast “bought” by the promoters of the circuit is still at a standstill.
In 2022 the first season of LIV Golf was visible on YouTube, on the official LIV website and on Facebook for free all over the world. In France, Equipe.Tv will continue in 2023 to comment live on the images offered free of charge.
On the side of Sky Sports, it is anything but a surprise, because the program grids are already well filled, each week, by the DP World Tour and the PGA Tour of the longtime allies. As for the leaders of DAZN and BT Sport, which has made a name for itself in recent years, they found that the rates charged by LIV golf were excessive according to Sportsmail.
A free, royalty-free broadcast in the motherland of golf would necessarily be considered a failure. The promoter of LIV Golf, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, has indeed already invested nearly two billion to launch its circuit around American stars such as Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau, and some big names in British golf, somewhat aging, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood or Paul Casey.
The exhibition circuit season begins at the end of February in Mexico on the El Cameleon de Mayakoba course in Playa del Carmen.