Per sources close to Golfweek, LIV Golf is set to finalise a deal that will see it purchase air time for its tournaments on popular US cable channel, Fox Sports 1.
The network has aired an array of live sporting events; notably, Major League Baseball, College sports, Major League Soccer, USGA Championship tournaments and a variety of motorsports events.
The deal with the Los Angeles headquartered firm is reportedly nearing completion but it remains unclear whether it will take effect in 2023 or sooner. The Saudi-backed venture has events in Bangkok and Jeddah remaining before its $50m knockout Team Championship finale in Miami next month.
The reported deal is particularly unique as it involves the Greg Norman-fronted Series stumping up money for airtime, when ordinarily television broadcasters hold rounds of bidding to secure the product in what can be financially lucrative agreements.
A well-placed industry executive reportedly told Golfweek that LIV was unsuccessful with approaches to NBC, CBS, Disney, Apple and Amazon, whilst Fox Corp Executive Chairman and CEO Lachlan Murdoch is said to have ordered the talks.
A source close to the specifics of the deal reportedly revealed that Fox rejected proposals that included a rights fee for year two of the deal and a guaranteed time slot on network television. Fox is believed to be considering the network placement at a later date, with LIV responsible for all broadcast production, cost, and selling of commercial sponsorships during allocated time slots.
There is also believed to be nervousness surrounding any possible commercial sponsorship, with one industry executive reportedly describing the product as "weak" and "tainted."
If Fox Sports were to become the broadcaster of LIV Golf events, it would be somewhat of a full circle for the venture's CEO and Commissioner Greg Norman. The Australian was with the media company as their Lead Golf Analyst for a little over a year before they parted ways in 2015.
The move from Fox Sports was a huge surprise for Norman, who revealed in an exclusive interview with GOLF Live that the decision came without warning: "I can honestly say that I am shocked and surprised," he stated at the time, whilst also adding "I felt like I got rolled under the bus."
Seven years on and it appears that is by-the-by, with the purported deal with Fox Sports on the imminent horizon. Prior, LIV Golf has broadcast its events via YouTube and the official LIV Golf website.
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James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.
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