While LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman has lauded their recently landed TV partnership with the CW, Boomer Esiason believes the startup league is just paying for an infomercial.
Earlier this year, the controversial Saudi Arabian-backed LIV Golf Tour landed an American TV deal with Nexstar’s CW. And with the 2023 LIV Golf season tees off this week on the CW, Esiason has no interest in watching.
Boomer Esiason claims there’s “no way” The CW is paying LIV Golf pic.twitter.com/EZTf3uws6w
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) February 21, 2023
“Their opening tournament is this week, I think down in Mexico. I’m not watching it. On the CW? Come on,” Esiason said this week on his WFAN morning show, prompting co-host Gregg Giannotti to share surprise over the fact that LIV landed a TV deal.
Prior to announcing their CW TV deal, there were reports that LIV was looking into buying airtime to ensure their product was available on linear television in the United States, despite Norman claiming they were receiving “enormous” interest from networks regarding a potential partnership. LIV ultimately failed to land a rights fee and settled for what was described as a “revenue-sharing” partnership with the CW, but Esiason refuses to believe that they’re not paying to air their product.
“I think they bought into it,” Esiason said of LIV’s TV deal. “I think they probably bought the time on CW. There’s no way CW is paying them, no way. You can’t make any money on it. I’m thinking that they probably bought onto the CW to get some sort of presence on TV here in the States other than just YouTube.”
Despite attempting to summon interest for their product, LIV was always going to have limited options in getting a TV deal considering CBS, NBC, and ESPN already have rights agreements with the PGA Tour. And for networks without ties to the PGA, there was still going to be tentativeness about partnering with LIV because they’re financed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. Those direct connections to a country known for its deplorable human rights record also have many sports fans, such as Esiason, unwilling to offer LIV support by watching any of its events.