Either “the cw” is strange and specific slang for “the crosswalk,” or Jim Nantz was referencing LIV Golf’s deal with the network The CW during third-round coverage of the Masters Sunday. Nantz said “And there he is, right on The CW…the crosswalk” (at 0:48 of the clip below) in relation to a shot from Brooks Koepka, who plays in that LIV Golf series, winding up on a crosswalk section of the 14th hole.
Jim Nantz picked an unusual way to describe where a Brooks Koepka shot landed (0:48). "And there he is, right on The CW…the crosswalk." pic.twitter.com/ozpe3iWBV2
— Next Impulse Sports (@NextImpulse) April 9, 2023
It remains somewhat strange that LIV Golf is on The CW. LIV Golf Investments CEO Greg Norman said last September his controversial Saudi Arabia-funded series was seeing “enormous” TV interest and talking to four different networks. But after months of reporting on the various networks that weren’t interested (including CBS, NBC, and ESPN/ABC, with relationships with the PGA Tour cited in those cases), LIV Golf announced a deal with The CW in January, and one where the network only shows Saturday/Sunday coverage of LIV events (with Friday coverage only streaming on The CW app).
The CW is less prominent than the four major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC). And it historically has been known for scripted series targeting younger viewers, not sports coverage. But after Nexstar, owner of the most local TV stations in the U.S. (across a variety of network affiliations), purchased majority control of The CW from CBS parent Paramount Global and Warner Bros. Discovery in October, the network’s strategy has changed a bit.
Following that Nexstar purchase, there has been a bit of an emphasis on changing the network’s strategy to reach a broader demographic. And that includes at least some sports. In addition to the LIV Golf deal, The CW is starting to be mentioned in other media rights conversations, including this week with the Pac-12. But for the moment, it remains an unusual place for sports (and one where quite a few of its affiliates, including the eight CBS-owned ones, refuse to air LIV Golf, and one where five of 14 LIV events this year will only air on the network on tape delay).
And the LIV ratings on The CW have not been good. So an apparent reference from Nantz to the low-profile TV home of LIV Golf is funny. And it’s maybe funnier still considering that this is somewhat CBS-on-CBS crime, as Paramount Global still owns a 12.5 percent stake in The CW. Or maybe this is corporate synergy and promotion, reminding Masters viewers of where they can watch Koepka play outside of majors.
[Next Impulse Sports on Twitter]