LIV Golf and Caffeine logos. LIV Golf and Caffeine logos.

One of the many big questions around LIV Golf in its second season was about the accessibility of its Friday coverage. The Saturday and Sunday rounds of events in the first year aired on The CW, and while that came with some issues and with some low ratings at times, both sides seemed happy enough with that partnership heading into year two.

But the Friday first rounds came with a different mishmash of coverage, including The CW app, the LIV Golf Plus app, and YouTube (under a $3 per matchday subscription in the latter case). And October saw LIV Golf chief media officer Will Staeger say they were having “conversations with all major networks” for expanded Friday coverage. None of that particularly seemed to work out ahead of their first two tournaments this month.

However, ahead of their third event this weekend from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, LIV Golf now does have a new Friday deal to announce. And it’s with streaming platform Caffeine. Here’s more on that from a release:

“We’re thrilled about this new partnership with Caffeine that continues our efforts to expand streaming options for LIV Golf’s Friday live coverage while introducing the league to a next-gen audience,” said Will Staeger, LIV Golf Chief Media Officer. “By distributing our Friday coverage across multiple platforms – including LIV Golf Plus, the LIV Golf YouTube channel, The CW App and now Caffeine – cord-cutters, sports and entertainment viewers, and digital fans on the move can watch our top-level competition coverage on Fridays anywhere they like, on any device, live and on-demand.”

Along with live Friday coverage, the partnership with Caffeine will include the broadcast of new, original programs like Club 54 Pre-Round and Post-Round shows, the Fairway to Heaven podcast, Mic’d Up features, LIV Films, and LIV Lessons that have generated over seven million views on the platform across just two events this season.

The start of the league’s 2024 season has seen significant growth in viewership for LIV Golf’s tournaments in Mayakoba and Las Vegas. Through two tournaments, the average audience on The CW Network broadcasts have seen growth of 77% (Mayakoba) and 60% (Las Vegas). Combining broadcast viewership with the LIV Golf Plus platform and YouTube streaming, the total viewership for the league’s first two events represented a 173% and 317% year-over-year increase, respectively. Since its inception, LIV Golf has worked to expand viewing options for tournaments on traditional and non-traditional mediums and prioritized a younger, more diverse demographic audience.

“We’re excited to partner with LIV Golf to expand distribution of its tournament content and help it reach new viewers as the tour continues to grow,” said Ben Keighran, CEO of Caffeine. “This collaboration marks an exciting moment as Caffeine continues to redefine live sports streaming, helping leagues and brands discover, connect and interact with passionate fans at scale through our platform.”

There’s some logic to this for both sides. Caffeine (a streaming platform backed by media companies including Disney and Fox, as well as other investors, and available on iOS, Android, Roku and Amazon Fire, as well as on has found success with a lot of more off-the-radar sports and leagues, including drawing 5.2 million views (in total) for the World Surf League Rip Curl Finals last September. And sports have been particularly big for them, with CEO Keighran telling AA last December an added emphasis on live sports (and niche sports) was key to them getting over 60 million monthly active users. Here are some key quotes from that interview that somewhat fit what they’re doing with LIV Golf:

“We pivoted from a model that was previously focused more on individual creators, to go all-in on live sports content. Over that time, we’ve brought on 150-plus niche and emerging sports leagues, partners and competitive events, with more to come in the new year.”

“This year we’ve seen the live sports space reach a bit of a tipping point where this current era of live streaming has seen an influx of technology platforms, streaming services, and in some cases, individual teams and leagues vying for the right to package and distribute content,” he said. “While this era of fragmentation and specialization has led to some lucrative deals for the top 50-100 sports out there, it’s left a vast majority of the niche and more emerging sports out there to forge their own path for distribution and monetization.”

“There’s such a wide range of sports that people care about. And we saw that as an opportunity to help those leagues market and distribute their content, while giving fans a centralized destination where they can watch their favorite sports wherever and whenever they want.”

…”We’ve also developed live streaming tech that is well suited to partners who want to broadcast live sports (replays, scale, real-time) and launched a free embeddable player that we can live stream to, making our content more discoverable. Content owners are seeing an average of 10 times the viewership they get from other distributors.”

So this makes lots of sense for Caffeine, and LIV Golf is arguably higher-profile in mass market terms than a lot of what they’ve already found success with. And the note that there’s already been non-match LIV content driving significant views on Caffeine also fits with the expansion to live Friday match coverage.

Meanwhile, for LIV Golf, this is a less conventional option than some of  the networks Staeger had discussed in October. But he did also say then that although more networks were listening, many had inventory tied up for years, and that they were having discussions with streaming platforms at that time as well. And there may have been some additional roadblocks for LIV Golf broadcast deals since that point, with the PGA Tour/DP World merger/combination framework not actually approved by the year-end deadline (and although it might still happen, it may not, especially with the PGA Tour getting their own outside investment) and with increased U.S. governmental scrutiny on the series and the proposed merger.

But the series has moved ahead with broadcaster extensions, and player signings (including Jon Rahm), and with this year’s schedule. And now they have an additional Friday viewing option for fans. We’ll see how their season goes, and how the Friday coverage options work out, but it’s notable to see them add another prominent one, and to see Caffeine pick up live rights from another recognizable league.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.