LIV Golf still searching for U.S. media partner

LIV Golf

LIV Golf has denied the claims that it is using this tournament to repair the image of Saudi Arabia

Saudi-backed circuit LIV Golf has had its U.S. broadcast options slashed after Amazon and Apple both passed on the media rights to broadcast the tournaments.

Saudi Arabia’s reputation among the West has been rocky due to various reported human-rights cases of abuse, and LIV has been accused by some media of using the golf tournaments as an effort to repair the nation’s global standing. The financial links of the $2 billion Saudi-regime-funded tournament are proving to throw up hurdle after hurdle for the tournament to secure a broadcasting partner.

LIV approached the tech giants about streaming the event on their platforms, though the talks never advanced past cursory enquiries, according to sources. LIV’s main challenge will be securing the lucrative media rights that fund one of the wealthiest sports leagues in the world.

LIV Golf has denied the claims that it is using this tournament to repair the image of Saudi Arabia, stating its “mission is to expand the game of golf across the globe with a fun, new format.”

Will Staeger, chief media officer of LIV Golf said: “We’re bullish about our prospects given our player field and the quality of our product.”

The chief executive of LIV Golf is former major golf champion, Australian Greg Norman. Norman is seeking to bring the breakaway tournament to Australia, with Norman telling the Daily Telegraph that he has “already held talks with state ministers” in an effort to secure hosting rights to the event.

Norman has received criticism from within the golf world, with human rights group Amnesty International accusing Norman of “sports washing”, the use of sport by oppressive governments to distract from the human rights abuses of their regimes. One such human rights abuse the tour is accused of being used to distract from is the Saudi government’s murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2019, which Norman described as a “mistake”, a comment which has drawn further criticism of the event.

Speculation on if the tournament will find a home in Australia continues to grow, whether it be on free-to-air, Fox Sports or a streaming service such as Stan Sport.

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