What do Nancy Drew, Criss Angel, Penn & Teller, and Cameron Smith all have in common?
All four will be appearing on The CW Network in 2023.
Reported earlier this week by SI.com’s Bob Harig and confirmed on Thursday by LIV Golf, the Saudi-backed golf series has signed a multi-year broadcast agreement with the American cable network to broadcast its 14 events in 2023.
LIV streamed its 2022 events on YouTube and the league website with no U.S. broadcast deal in place. Reports surfaced in September of last year that they might even try to purchase airtime on Fox Sports 1 after other networks balked at linking up with the Saudi-backed series.
Locking down a broadcast partner has been one of LIV’s major offseason priorities, and a major key for marketing the LIV franchises it eventually intends to sell. Announcing a broadcast partner is the first positive headline for the league in months.
Since wrapping up its inaugural season with its Team Championship at Trump National Doral in late October, LIV has seen two key executives resign. LIV COO and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers executive Atul Khosha resigned in mid-December.
Timeline for Atul Khosla, LIV’s now-former president/COO.
Oct. 29: He and another exec give media a 90-minute presentation about LIV’s business structure in ’23.
Oct. 30: He tells me he can “absolutely” sell the league to sponsors.
Sometime in November: He resigns.
— Sean Zak (@Sean_Zak) December 19, 2022
Khosla’s departure was followed by Matt Goodman’s resignation in early January. Goodman was named LIV’s director of franchises in May of 2022, and came to the league from New York City Football Club in MLS. He has since joined the Dallas Mavericks as their Chief Operating Officer, according to his LinkedIn profile.
“This is a momentous day for LIV Golf as this partnership is about more than just media rights,” Greg Norman, CEO & Commissioner of LIV Golf, said in a statement.”The CW will provide accessibility for our fans and maximum exposure for our athletes and partners as their reach includes more than 120 million households across the United States.”
— LIV Golf (@LIVGolfInv) January 19, 2023
Weekend tournaments will air live on Saturdays and Sundays on The CW and The CW App and on Fridays on The CW App.
Before the deal with The CW Network was officially announced, speculation heated up after LIV broadcaster David Feherty hinted about the deal during a comedy appearance in West Palm Beach, Florida.
“Have you heard of CW?” Feherty said, before leaving the crowd with a cliffhanger. “I might get fired for this, but…”
Feherty left NBC and Golf Channel in July of last year to join the LIV Golf team, and was pretty blunt about his main reason.
Hallelujah! Someone has FINALLY told the truth about joining LIV Golf: TRAINA THOUGHTS https://t.co/GqMFJDphkL
— Jimmy Traina (@JimmyTraina) August 11, 2022
“I hear, ‘Well, it’s grow the game,” Feherty said in an interview with the Toledo Blade. “Bullsh**. They paid me a lot of money.”
He also said it was an opportunity to become a lead broadcaster, and “an opportunity to be (himself) again.”
“It’s become more and more difficult, especially in sports broadcasting, to have any kind of character, he said. “I have become more and more guarded over the last few years. There are people waiting around every corner hoping to be offended by something.”
Feherty and the LIV team would be broadcasted in 220 U.S. media markets. A source told SI that The CW would not be paying a rights fee, and that they would instead enter into a revenue-sharing arrangement with LIV.
The 2023 LIV Golf schedule is expected to include 14 events, though only seven have been confirmed. The 2023 season kicks off in Mexico February 24-26 at El Camaleon Golf Club.