LIV Golf’s broadcast bidding war won’t include two of the industry’s best-funded competitors.
Two of the biggest players in the rapidly expanding world of sports streaming, Amazon and AppleTV, are not among the suitors for LIV Golf’s streaming rights, according to a report released Thursday from the Wall Street Journal.
According to the Journal, both streaming giants were approached by LIV Golf about broadcasting the league on their platforms, which have in recent months acquired broadcast rights to the NFL and MLB. Neither of the streamers were said to be interested in a deal, and talks never progressed beyond an early stage.
A source confirmed the report to GOLF, which comes at a time of increased interest around the Saudi-backed league’s streaming rights. On Wednesday, LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman told ESPN 1000 Chicago that there was “enormous interest” around the league’s streaming rights, and that it has been engaged with a multitude of suitors in signing a broadcast deal.
“We’re talking to four different networks — and live conversations where offers are being put on the table,” Norman said. “Because [the networks] can see the value of our product, they can see what we’re delivering.”
But those comments would seem to conflict with the reality of the media rights situation, in which the PGA Tour has blocked out several of LIV’s possible suitors and the league has struggled to make inroads with remaining competitors. As of right now, CBS, NBC, ESPN and FOX join Amazon and Apple among the networks who have reportedly passed on LIV negotiations for reasons tied to scheduling and PGA Tour conflicts. That represents a significant chunk of the sports media marketshare, leaving only options like Turner, Netflix and Fubo, which have questionable interest in the upstart league and sports media rights in general.
Of course, these situations are subject to change, particularly as LIV enters the “auction phase” for its TV rights. The league has said it is hoping to sign a rights partner for 2023, which it is targeting as its first full season.