The first live sports broadcast on the CW didn’t have much of an impact on viewers.
The network’s first broadcast of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf league averaged 500,288 viewers and 0.10 Saturday and Sunday families Ratings. By comparison, a weekend PGA Tour event averages just under 2 million viewers in the same two days on NBC — about seven times as many viewers. The CW’s two rounds of LIV also trailed the Golf Channel’s four PGA Tour telecasts.
Despite the low numbers, the CEO of The CW’s parent company said on Tuesday’s earnings call that he was pleased with LIV’s network debut.
“The numbers exceeded our expectations and most importantly, the affiliates as well as our own stations are very excited,” Nexstar CEO Perry Sook on the phone. From Friday to Sunday, 1.4 million people watched at least a few minutes of LIV events across the broadcast network and the CW app, he said. “I know our affiliates and CW affiliates in the top 10 markets generate about three times the amount the network generates for the first outing , so it’s selling well, you know, and I think it’s going to continue to grow as we get into the season and more engagement.”
LIV Golf funded by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia marketed itself as an alternative to the PGA Tour and paid huge upfront payments to attract players including Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka Fight for the upstart league with big names including Bryson DeChambeau. LIV’s first-year event 2022 airs on the league’s YouTube channel; the CW deal is the league’s first broadcast deal.
Meanwhile, the PGA’s Honda Classic is on par with last year’s championship, down about 5 percent from 2. MILLIONS for NBC’s Saturday and Sunday telecasts on 288.