1 of 5 | Phil Mickelson and other LIV Golf stars will compete in events this season on The CW. File Photo by Peter Foley/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 19 (UPI) -- LIV Golf and the CW Network reached a multi-year agreement for TV and streaming broadcast rights in the United States, the controversial Saudi-funded golf series announced Thursday.
The CW will air all 14 of LIV Golf's global events live on the network and on the The CW App. The agreement will result in the breakaway series airing on U.S. TV for the first time. LIV Golf events aired on YouTube, Facebook and the series website during its inaugural campaign in 2022.
"This is a momentous day for LIV Golf as this partnership is about more than just media rights," LIV Golf CEO and commissioner Greg Norman said in a news release. "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.
"We're very proud to note how consequential it is that a league that has only existed for one year has secured a full broadcast deal in its debut full league season."
LIV Golf said weekend tournaments will air Fridays on The CW App and on Saturdays and Sundays on The CW and The CW App. Play-by-play announcer Arlo White and booth analysts David Feherty and Jerry Foltz will return for 2023.
Fellow 2022 analysts Dom Boulet, Su-Ann Heng and Troy Mullins also will be part of the broadcast team.
Lucrative prize purses and schedule flexibility were among the reasons Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Cameron Smith and Phil Mickelson and other top golfers cited for their defections from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf over the past year, amid criticism from players such as Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and others in the PGA Tour.
The rift between elite golfers and officials within the circuits also resulted in ongoing legal battles and suspensions from the PGA Tour, but LIV Golf competitors have been cleared to compete in major tournaments.
In early October, Johnson clinched LIV Golf's first individual title and an $18 million prize. He went on to win the team championship later that month alongside Talor Gooch, Patrick Reed and Pat Perez for an additional $16 million prize.
The 2023 LIV Golf season will start with LIV Golf Mayakoba from Feb. 24 to 26 at El Camaleon Golf Course in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Officials have announced just seven of 14 sites for the 2023 season.
The LIV deal will mark the first time The CW, which is majority owned by Nexstar Media Group, will be the exclusive broadcaster of live mainstream sports."