Like any startup in almost any type of business, LIV Golf will reveal its product to the public later this week in a promotional wave of promises and proposed advances. Since it doesn’t have a lot of productions to talk about, at least for now, the Renegade tour should rely on its exposure of these early events as a way to build a fan base.
Since the three primary streaming partners so far are YouTube, Facebook, and its own website (LIVGolf.com), this won’t come true easily. None of these outlets can claim any prior association with live golf programmes. Online/streaming traffic still accounts for a very small percentage of those watching the PGA Tour events, and it’s reasonable to believe that quite a few enthusiastic followers will pass the LIV Tournaments out of sheer principle.
Not that those behind the nascent faction cared about even the slightest TV ratings. Money is nothing, and revenue is hardly a priority because the Saudis are looking for other forms of value in their mission, and attention is one of them. Perhaps the best way to get attention is to stage high-end TV broadcasts with visuals and graphics that viewers don’t get from CBS or NBC – and fully embrace the lure of legal gambling, which no major network has made an effort for later.
Armed with 50 cameras, 16 aerial control points and 60 microphones, LIV Golf is touting its Thursday launch in London as an audiovisual extravaganza with unprecedented depth and vibrancy. “An experience reimagined,” says a company spokesperson, adding that “additional updates” will be provided throughout the season for this “one-of-a-kind broadcast.”
Who needs a world-class field when you have more bells and whistles than Willy Wonka? Just seven years ago, when Fox Sports paid $1.1 billion to broadcast the US Open to television (and four other USCA tournaments), through 2026, it left no superlative untouched in announcing its latest technology and how it would revolutionize. Golf Cover Forever. Due to COVID-19 and subsequent NFL scheduling conflicts, Fox walked away from the USGA deal midway through before it was completed.
Calling this deal a disaster would be a blatant exaggeration, but the departing net has shown little interest in continuing their relationship with the little white ball. It’s certainly no coincidence that LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman, who only lasted one season as Fox’s chief analyst (2015), has held several crucial positions with men who have also cashed paychecks from fellow Australian Rupert Murdoch at the time. or else.
According to CBS’s entrenched premise that at least half of all golf talents on air must speak with a foreign accent, there will be no relief from this slang dodge in LIV products. This is a global institution, mind you, an actual outfit operating under a shingle for the Asian Tour, which doesn’t explain why an Englishman with so much experience was hired as a football broadcaster to call the golf courses.
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Arlo White is a proven commodity in the kiosk, solid enough to anchor the Premier League show on NBC since its inception in 2013, but the golf-watching audience can be an impossible group to beat if they feel a lack of solid knowledge. He will be joined by White Dome Bullitt, a former Asia Tour major, and longtime golf channel analyst Jerry Fultz, who ranks behind Gary Koch on the unofficial shortlist of underappreciated game voices.
Given the backlash that has emerged in the US over the existence of LIV Golf – the PGA Tour’s vehement opposition to anything resembling a competitor, Phil Mickelson’s bullshit, Norman’s gratuitous comments about the death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi – it’s hard to imagine anyone’s sportscasters . Good reputation showing interest in working for Saudis.
Foltz waited years for a place in someone’s starting lineup, and while he always seemed content to cover women’s golf, this opportunity likely came at a salary he couldn’t refuse. The rest of the cast will be recorded live as unknown to many Americans – just like the majority of golfers they will be talking about.
Mickelson may remain an outcast to many, but his fan club is large and loyal, rejecting the public curse that led to his exile. The potential defection of Ricky Fowler, another popularity contest winner whose career has continued to unravel for the past three years, may be in the interest of both parties. His loss will have little, if any, effect on the infinite depth of the PGA Tour.
A handful of familiar names, many of which have made it past their primary, don’t make up a major league circuit. It might take every paper in the Ideas box to stamp that thing with an ID – if there’s one thing the game doesn’t need, it’s another mystery roundup. And if there’s one thing Norman can use right now, it’s a trusted partnership with the game industry.
Something interactive and easy to access. Something that provides a direct connection between the audience and the act itself. Something to cheer for LIV Golf TV broadcasts with a really progressive and youth-friendly feature.
Something that gives people actual reason to check out Norman’s collection of millionaire rebels and faceless parties. For a well-funded producer looking for an instant high, a legitimate bet is a wild card with wings. A sure bet, they say with a wink.
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