Saudi Arabia’s LIV Golf finally secured a TV deal Thursday.
The American television network CW will air all of LIV Golf’s 14 events in 2023 on air and via the CW mobile app. LIV called it a “multi-year partnership,” according to a press release.
LIV Golf finished its first season last October at former President Donald Trump’s golf course in the US city of Miami. The 2023 season will begin in February in Mexico.
Why it matters: CW is far from the biggest network in the United States. The channel was ranked 22nd most watched in December, according to National Media Spots. That being said, securing a TV deal of any kind is a big milestone for LIV. Last season, the league aired its tournaments for free on YouTube. Appearing on CW will thus provide LIV with the opportunity to gain significant advertising revenue.
LIV Golf was previously rumored to be nearing a TV deal with Fox Sports.
LIV is owned by the Saudi Public Investment Fund. The sovereign wealth fund has pumped $2 billion into the league, largely due to the high salaries LIV offers golfers.
Know more: LIV Golf has been plagued from controversy since the beginning, largely due to Saudi Arabia’s human rights record. Most recently, a public relations firm working for the PGA Tour accused LIV of gathering intelligence on victims of the 9/11 attacks. Many 9/11 victims have been protesting LIV due to the Saudi government’s alleged connection to the attacks. LIV Golf is a competitor to the PGA Tour.
LIV CEO Greg Norman has repeatedly defended Saudi Arabia. Last year, the Australian golf legend said Saudi Arabia is undergoing a “cultural change.”
On NewsNation Thursday night, host Dan Abrams asked him “Do you really think the Saudis have been learning from their mistakes?” Norman replied “Yes, I do," according to Mediaite.