LIV Golf secures broadcast deals but UK sportscasters pass on breakaway competition

LIV Golf, the controversial breakaway competition backed by Saudi Arabia, has secured a number of international rights deals. 

The organisation secured deals in 150 countries and territories ahead of its inaugural tournament at London’s Centurion Club from June 9-11.

The largest of these is with DAZN, which is broadcasting the tournament in German-speaking countries, Italy, Spain and the UK, along with Japan, Canada and the USA. SportsProMedia reports that DAZN was offered the non-exclusive rights for free. 

Elsewhere, Viaplay holds the rights in the Nordics, Baltics, Netherlands and Poland, while LIV Golf has secured deals with broadcasters including Eleven, L’Equipe, Mola, Sportklub and Joj elsewhere in Europe.

Eleven and SPOTV have secured rights across Southeast Asia, with Mola TV also securing the rights for Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. The rights are held by Sina Sports in China, while the Korean rights have been secured by MBC, SBS and SPOTV.

In Latin America, DirecTV has picked up the rights, while SuperSport has secured the competition in sub-Saharan Africa and Shahid has secured them for MENA.

One major golf market where the competition will not be broadcast at launch is the UK. Various reports note that representatives of the LIV Series approached Sky Sports, BT Sport and DAZN but all three turned down a UK deal. Sky Sports, which operates a dedicated golf channel, likely objected to a deal as to not anger long-time partner the PGA Tour.

The PGA Tour is livid over the breakaway competition, and has suspended 17 players – including fan favourite Phil Mickelson – who are playing at LIV. 

A memo to players from PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan confirmed: “These players have made their choice for their own financial-based reasons. But they can’t demand the same PGA Tour membership benefits, considerations, opportunities and platform as you. That expectation disrespects you, our fans and our partners.

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