LIV Golf will explode with up to TEN new players in the next two months – with organizers of the Saudi-backed series looking to convince more broadcasters to air their tournaments
- The LIV tour will look to add up to ten new players over the next two months
- Questions remain about the organization’s funding without broadcast deals
- The controversial tour even offered to pay FOX to broadcast their inaugural season
- The R&A Chief has confirmed that LIV players will not be banned from the Open next year
The controversial LIV breakaway tour will end its latest grab for up to 10 new players over the next two months, circuit organizers said on Saturday.
The free-spending Saudi-backed start up could also reach out to paying broadcasters to show their tournaments as Greg Norman’s group desperately chase exposure after being largely ignored in their first year.
That inaugural season ends in Miami today, with unanswered questions about how a circuit that has already spent nearly $1billion on talent can deliver a viable business plan for years to come.
LIV Golf will look to recruit up to ten players amid questions about the tour’s financial viability
Phil Mickelson’s involvement failed to get fans to watch the breakaway tour on YouTube
Such suspicions are exacerbated by a wafer-thin broadcasting portfolio, with the UK being a case in point as the LIV stream is only available via their YouTube channel. On Friday, for the quarter-finals of their team championships, which featured a match-up between two of their marquee names in Phil Mickelson and Cameron Smith, the channel got fewer than 300,000 views worldwide.
While LIV maintains that they are in talks with multiple territories to plug those gaps, it is perhaps instructive to report that they have offered to pay Fox for airtime in the US. On Saturday, their chief operating officer Atul Khosla said: ‘In a global league, we look at rights across the board.
‘We are thinking about what commercial arrangements might look like. I feel good about where we are but we have work to do in the next two months. We think we provide an incredible commercial product. They’re not six-month or one-year deals, if a TV network is behind it, it’s for years.’
Henrik Stenson has been stripped of his Ryder Cup Europe captaincy for signing on tour
The success of those plans remains to be seen, but it’s more likely that the circuit will achieve more immediate returns in their push for new players, who have already proven themselves adept at scouring the PGA Tour for some of the best. golfers in the world. Khosla revealed that the acquisitions will be linked by the end of 2022 ahead of the second season, which starts in February.
‘We are in the middle of discussions now,’ he said. ‘We will finish it this year. We want the teams to be locked in the new year. It will play itself out over the next two months.’
Meanwhile, R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers has reiterated that there will be no outright ban on LIV golfers from next year’s Open, although he said the qualification hurdles they face will not be known until January or February.
‘We will not betray 150 years of history and the Open is not open,’ he said. ‘What we will do is make sure there are appropriate pathways and ways to qualify.’