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In a bid to lower the average age of golf viewers, and as part of a short-term strategy to hit the ground running, the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series is to be broadcast live on YouTube and LIVGolf.com.
The announcement came during an explosive press conference in London where Greg Norman, CEO of LIV Golf Investments, said “we’ve all made mistakes” in reference to the Saudi regime's murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi back in 2018.
It’s little wonder then that news of any TV deals for the rebel tour slipped through the cracks. However, former Formula 1 commercial chief Sean Bratches, who now forms part of Norman’s leadership team, confirmed that YouTube will show the action that gets underway at the Centurion Club from June 9-11 as LIV Golf targets “broad reach out of the gate.”
“We've been speaking to broadcast outlets around the world for the better part of this year,” Bratches said. “We're entering the marketplace at a window of time where most of the time slots on either Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Friday, Saturday, Sunday predominantly are allocated. So our approach right now since we announced - and no one would do a deal until we actually had a product and announced - is we're doing a couple things.
“One is in our effort to lower the average age of the consumer of golf from 65. Our objective is to target an average age of 40. From day one we are going to be distributing the content globally on YouTube and on LIVGolf.com. We are going to have similes in China, which geoblocks those two platforms. We're talking to Snapchat, Facebook, Twitch and a few other media partners, and at the same time we're also engaged with the litany of broadcasters that are around the world.
“For this year, we would coexist with anybody that actually has the capacity to clear eight events for three days and make the economics work for them, but I think we are in this for the long haul. Our objective is to open the aperture to new audiences while being respectful to the incumbents. YouTube has 2.6 billion people that consume the product on a global basis, and over 120 million a month just in the United States.
“The changing behaviours of those viewers on these platforms is fascinating. In the world of connected televisions, with gaming consoles and other means to get content on the best available screen, and generally speaking the best available screen is the largest screen that you have, we feel very confident about that strategy in the short-term.
“But as we go forward and we actually have players, we have a proven conceit, we're going to be talking to partners in the marketplace about 2023 and beyond, and I think ultimately the complexion of our distribution from a commercial standpoint will look similar to what's in the marketplace today with the production elements that we discussed that we think are going to be unique, specific and surprise and delight golf fans, incumbent and future, going forward.”
Although the PGA Tour and reportedly the DP World Tour have blocked player release requests to tee it up at the Centurion Club for the breakaway circuit's curtain-raiser, Norman added he "might be sharing some names next week", before disclosing the full field list on May 27.
A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.
Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.
As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.
What's in Andy's bag?
Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)
3-wood: TaylorMade M1 (15°)
Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)
Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)
Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
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