The Sports Business Journal shared the estimated LIV Golf Mayakoba and PGA Tour Honda Classic viewership from last weekend, and the early reports didn’t paint a pretty picture for the rival circuit.
On Friday morning, LIV Golf shared some new numbers that tell a different story.
Using iSpot, a TV ad measurement and analytics company, as well as CW and LIV Golf internal data, the upstart circuit financially supported by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund reported an audience of 3.2 million viewers across all linear and digital platforms for its season-opening event in Mexico. With its new TV deal, LIV airs in every U.S. market via CW affiliates and Nexstar stations and reported 1.6 million viewers on Saturday and 1.3 million viewers on Sunday.
LIV’s report also stated an average linear viewership domestically in the United States of more than 537,000, which it claims is more than the current season viewership average of the MLS (343,000), NHL (373,000) and the 2023 Australian Open men’s tennis final (439,000).
It’s easy to make jokes about some of the programming on the CW, but LIV airing in every U.S. market was key for its development in 2023. If accurate, the reported numbers are another step forward, but let’s not forget this was LIV’s first event of the season, not to mention it compared its viewership to the season averages of three of the least-watched major sports in America.
That said, according to Nielsen, the CW’s weekend primetime national ratings were up 24% compared to the network’s weekend season-to-date average. With Friday’s opening round only available via live stream, LIV reported a 40% month-to-month increase in downloads of the CW app, as well as 350,000 views over its new app, LIV Golf Plus.
Long story short, more people watched the opening event than previously thought. Now LIV needs to keep them watching.