As noted when the initial household ratings data came in, LIV Golf’s 2023 season debut and first event on The CW wasn’t watched by many. The 0.2 overnight rating Saturday’s coverage from Mayakoba, Mexico drew was one of the lowest numbers for any level of significant sports event in a while. Now the final Nielsen viewership numbers are in, and they’re also low, with average viewership of 291,000 on Sunday and 286,000 on Saturday (way, way below the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic Sunday numbers on NBC, even if the comparison there isn’t exactly even):
ShowBuzz DOES have national LIV numbers: 291K on Sunday, 286K on Saturday. A .18 household rating both days.
comparisons to Honda Classic on NBC are apples/oranges due to shorter length on NBC, but Sunday round averaged 2.38 million, down 7% from last year's 2.57M
— Sports TV Ratings (@SportsTVRatings) February 28, 2023
Of course, some of that is about carriage. The eight CBS-owned CW affiliates all chose not to air LIV Golf this weekend, as did several other affiliates. So with markets including Chicago, Philadelphia, and Atlanta not airing the event, that’s a lot of potential viewers lost. But even with that in mind, the viewership numbers here follow the pattern set by those low overnights, and they’re certainly not promising for LIV Golf. They’re below most of the sports that aired anywhere this weekend, including Golf Channel early-day Honda Classic coverage Saturday and Sunday (555,000 and 631,000 viewers respectively), two XFL games, five different women’s college basketball games (and 32 men’s college basketball games), and every soccer match except a Friday Premier League one. So that’s not exactly a great result for them.
It’s possible the LIV numbers improve down the road. With anything on a new channel or service, there are always some people unaware of that at first who come in a bit later after reading about it. (That’s the whole concept of truTV Awareness Month; perhaps LIV Golf needs a CW Awareness Month.) But the series certainly isn’t off to a good 2023 start from a viewership perspective. At least that meant that only a limited number of people were watching commentator David Feherty claim that LIV Golf commissioner Greg Norman (seen at left above with Pat Perez during an LIV Golf event last September) was “the most recognizable athlete on the planet in his prime,” though.
[Sports TV Ratings on Twitter, ShowBuzz Daily; photo from Richard Cashin/USA Today Sports]