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Nexstar-owned CW Network to continue airing LIV Golf events following merger with PGA Tour

Saudi-backed LIV Golf and the CW announced a multiyear exclusive broadcast deal earlier this year.

After a contentious relationship marred by antitrust litigation and player poaching, the PGA Tour and the controversial Saudi-backed LIV Golf shocked the golf world by announcing a merger Tuesday. But what does that mean for LIV Golf’s recently inked broadcast deal with the CW Network, owned by Irving-based Nexstar Media Group?

The CW will continue to broadcast LIV Golf events this year under the deal announced in mid-January, according to a statement from Nexstar chief communications officer Gary Weitman.

“This is an exciting day to unify and grow the game of golf,” the statement said. “There is no change to the LIV Golf event schedule for 2023 on The CW. We look forward to broadcasting seven more exciting tournaments this year featuring the world’s best golfers.”


Following its acquisition by Nexstar in August 2022, the CW signed a multiyear exclusive broadcast deal with LIV Golf in January. During the league’s inaugural season in 2022, events were streamed on YouTube.

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The CW deal represented the first live sports programming to air on the network and LIV Golf’s first foray into U.S. television.


It is unclear how successful that partnership has been for either party, as LIV Golf ceased reporting TV ratings in March. PGA Tour events on a variety of networks regularly reach nearly 3 million viewers. Sports Business Journal, citing Nielsen ratings, reported that LIV’s first two events attracted just under 300,000 viewers on average.

LIV Golf and its CW broadcast deal have been met with backlash, due to Saudi Arabia’s treatment of women and dissidents.

The Saudi investment fund owns a 93% stake in LIV Golf. Following the merger, which includes Europe’s PGA Tour-owned DP World Tour, it will have exclusive rights to invest in an as yet unnamed for-profit entity to oversee the combined tours’ commercial businesses.


The PGA Tour will continue to exist as a nonprofit to oversee event administration once the merger takes effect after this season. Nexstar acquired a 75% stake in the CW, with previous owners Paramount and WarnerMedia each retaining 12.5% of the network. Paramount and WarnerMedia also hold broadcast rights to the PGA Tour.

Afterward, Paramount’s CBS Network continued to operate several CW affiliates in markets such as Philadelphia and San Francisco, and those affiliates declined to show LIV Golf events, according to reporting from Deadline, likely due to the partnership with the PGA Tour.

However, the CW — one of five major networks that reach every U.S. home alongside CBS, NBC, Fox and ABC — said in February that it secured LIV Golf coverage in 100% of U.S. markets. In markets where the local CW affiliate declined to show LIV Golf events, local stations aired them instead.

Speculation on the future of LIV Golf broadcasts comes down to whether the tours continue to host separate events. “The new entity will work to ensure a cohesive schedule of events that will be exciting for fans, sponsors and all stakeholders,” the competing tours said in their merger announcement.

Weitman also declined to comment on whether Nexstar was involved in or informed of merger discussions prior to Tuesday.

LIV Golf, aside from its controversial ownership, is known primarily for its exorbitant prize purses, with the league paying out a total of $405 million across the 2023 season, and its tournament structure, which differs significantly from the PGA Tour’s traditional structure.

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