Report: LIV Golf Generated ‘Virtually Zero’ Revenue In First Season
Court documents include LIV Golf lawyers accusing the PGA Tour of driving up costs by hundreds of millions of dollars
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Lawyers for LIV Golf have admitted in court documents that the Saudi-funded circuit generated ‘virtually zero’ revenue during its inaugural season.
Per the Guardian (opens in new tab), documents were filed on Monday in a motion with the US District Court for Northern California. LIV Golf is seeking to deny the PGA Tour’s motion for leave to include the organisation that bankrolls the circuit, the Public Investment Fund, and its governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan, as plaintiffs in the Tour’s countersuit scheduled to be heard next January.
The PGA Tour hopes to delay the trial date, as it claims PIF and Al-Rumayyan have not complied with discovery and depositions. However, according to the report, lawyers for LIV Golf, in their efforts to ensure there is no delay in proceedings, claimed in the motion: “The Tour has damaged LIV’s brand, driven up its costs by hundreds of millions of dollars, and driven down revenues to virtually zero.”
The admission comes less than two months after a 2021 document revealed ambitious plans for LIV Golf, stating that to achieve financial success it needed “to sign each of the world’s top 12 golfers, attract sponsors to an unproven product and land television deals for a sport with declining viewership - all without significant retaliation from the PGA Tour it would be plundering.”
Last year, LIV Golf reportedly spent around $784m, much of that on enticing some of the world’s best players to the organisation, including former World No.1s Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson, and Open champion Cameron Smith. However, it did so without a TV deal, instead having to stream its content on its official website and YouTube.
In Monday's motion, LIV Golf lawyers also accused the PGA Tour of hindering the careers of several of its players, including Matt Jones and Peter Uihlein. The motion reads: “The prejudice to Plaintiffs Jones and Uihlein from delay is clear: they risk being unable to earn a living in their chosen profession during the prime of their careers.
"Mr Jones and Mr Uihlein have no secure ability to pursue their profession in 2024. Some Player Plaintiffs are not under contract with LIV past 2023, and are banned from the PGA Tour, the European Tour, and other tours around the world. Player Plaintiffs are denied playing opportunities they had earned and need resolution on the enforceability of the Tour’s Regulations, suspensions, and conduct.
"And several other golfers in LIV and other professional and collegiate golfers who are considering playing in the Asian Tour or on LIV are making decisions about their future and need clarity from the Court. Plaintiffs need relief soon and certainly no later than the current January 2024 trial.”
While legal issues rumble on, LIV Golf is pushing ahead with its preparations for the 2023 season, which starts on 24 February at Mexico’s El Camaleon Golf Club. One recent breakthrough that could see it heading for a more stable financial footing was the announcement of a multi-year TV deal with CW Network for its expanded 14-tournament League.
Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories.
He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game.
Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course.
Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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