LIV identified Michael Jordan, Augusta National members as prospective board members: Report
New details about the behind-the-scenes formation of LIV Golf’s breakaway league were revealed on Sunday when The New York Times published a report on findings obtained from confidential documents.
According to the Times report, LIV initially intended to sign 12 of the world’s top players, including Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. LIV managed to sign four players from that primary wish list: Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson. While Mickelson accepted a reported $200 million deal, Woods reportedly declined one in the neighborhood of $700-800 million.
The documents viewed by the Times included one produced by global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company. The document projected various outcomes to LIV’s reported $2 billion golf investment. One projection indicated that a successful LIV could produce as much as $320 million in profit before interest and taxes by 2028. But without a stable of major players, tentpole sponsorships or a broadcast deal, the league could also stand to lose $355 million before interest and taxes by 2028, according to the documents.
A report from Sports Illustrated pegged LIV’s 2022 investment at $786 million. An additional $405 million will be up for grabs for LIV’s players across 14 events in 2023. The league is currently operating without a major sponsorship deal or broadcast partner, with tournaments available to view for free via YouTube.
One of the more surprising nuggets from the Times report was the revelation that LIV’s organizers originally considered recruiting a who’s-who list of possible board members that included names like Michael Jordan and Condoleezza Rice, as well as other high-profile Augusta National members like former IBM CEO Ginni Rometty and former AT&T chairman Randall Stephenson. Stephenson is a currently a member of the PGA Tour’s board.
Though LIV is facing an uphill battle, there should be some resolution coming in the months ahead. A UK court is expected to announce a ruling in February on whether or not the DP World Tour’s fines and suspensions of players who defected to LIV will be upheld. LIV players, some of whom are seeking a means of earning World Ranking Points via DP World Tour events (LIV events are not currently eligible to receive World Ranking Points), are currently allowed to compete in the interim.