LIV Golf has been dealing with an assortment of issues since its inception—none of which have garnered more attention than the fact that the upstart league is funded by Saudi Arabia, the controversial benefactor that has helped “sportswashing” become a top contender for Word of the Year.
The organization’s business model has primarily involved offering players on the PGA Tour hundreds of millions of dollars to defect, and while the money that’s changed hands so far is a drop in the bucket for a group of financial backers who currently have access to virtually infinite resources, you have to imagine they’re hoping to see a return on their investment at some point in the near future.
While LIV Golf has theoretically been able to generate revenue by hosting tournaments, the fact that they’ve failed to find any major media partner willing to broadcast those events to the world has presumably been a source of frustration for a company that will need that kind of deal to ascend to the next level.
Earlier this month, we learned Apple TV had declined to link up with a brand it reportedly deemed “too toxic.” However, it looks like LIV has finally found a suitor in the form of Fox Sports—although the details of the deal leave plenty to be desired thanks to the fairly unconventional manner in which it’s structured.
LIV Golf will reportedly pay Fox Sports to broadcast its events as opposed to the other way around
According to Golfweek, LIV is on the verge of officially inking a contract that would result in Fox Sports airing its tournaments in exchange for…well, nothing, as the league will reportedly purchase airtime as opposed to receiving money from the network.
If that sounds like the opposite of what usually happens, that’s because it is; CBS, Fox, and Disney pay the NFL billions of dollars every year for the privilege to air football games, with those costs offset by the lucrative ad revenue they rely on to ultimately profit.
It makes sense that LIV Golf would be willing to use some of the aforementioned piles of cash at its disposal to raise its profile, and it could theoretically leverage its television ratings in the future to sign a new deal that would involve another party paying them to broadcast events.
With that said, deciding to go the “glorified infomercial” route is still not the best look.