Tuesday October 3, 2023

LIV Golf: Opener on The CW Had a Total Audience of 3.2M

  • The broadcast-only viewership in the U.S. for Saturday and Sunday averaged 537,000 viewers.
  • Nexstar and LIV to shift LIV programming to other non-CW stations in some markets.
LIV Golf ratings
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LIV Golf released a new set of viewership numbers Friday that paint a more impressive picture of last weekend’s debut of its multiyear broadcast deal with The CW. 

Citing data from CW and the media tracking firm iSpot and LIV’s own metrics, last weekend’s season-opening tournament in Mexico had a total audience of 3.2 million viewers across all platforms. The broadcast-only viewership in the U.S. for Saturday and Sunday averaged 537,000 viewers — about 40% more than the estimates from Nielsen posted earlier this week. 

Will Staeger, LIV Golf’s chief media officer, told Front Office Sports laid out why the viewership stats made public on Friday varied from the traditional figures. 

“What LIV and The CW were intent on being thorough [as possible] to determine viewership by finding out where people are watching and how many people are watching,” Staeger said. “That’s incumbent on us [to provide detailed metrics] for our partners, our future partners, our teams, our players who have sponsors. We wanted to take our time, and iSpot’s process took that into account.”

While all CW markets broadcast LIV Golf’s carried the opener, that doesn’t mean CW stations carry it. NextStar, which purchased 75% of The CW last year, owns many of the CW affiliates, and those owned by other media companies have chosen not to carry LIV. 

That led Nexstar and LIV to shift LIV programming to other non-CW stations in some markets. 

“That is 100% penetration [in every CW market], so over 120 million homes,” Staeger said. “A percentage of those were on stations Nexstar owned or independent stations, so we want to make sure those were accounted for.”

Other nuggets from U.S. viewership data provided by LIV Golf: 

  • Saturday’s broadcast had 1.6 million viewers on CW affiliates and other stations that carried LIV programming in the U.S. 
  • While Sunday golf viewership typically trends up during the final round, TV viewership dipped to 1.3 million. 
  • The CW — which typically doesn’t provide programming to affiliates during the 1-6 pm weekend windows when LIV aired — saw ratings “increase by double digits in ten top U.S. markets,” according to LIV. 
  • New downloads for The CW app “jumped by nearly 1 million in February,” according to LIV. That was a more than 40% month-to-month increase. The broadcasts can also be viewed via the LIV+ app that recently became available on several mobile and set-top box platforms. 

Staeger gave a theory why the Saturday numbers were higher than Sunday’s. 

“Saturday was a curiosity factor, so that element was at play,” Staeger said. “Some folks were sampling our coverage who just stumbled across it for the first time, and were really looking for at it for the first time given the news coverage.”

Another reason: Charles Howell III cruised to a four-shot win, and his team, the Crushers, won by nine shots. 

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