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Richard Deitsch: Saudi Government Ties Won’t Keep LIV Off TV in US

“According to Deitsch, the networks that aren’t interested would be steering clear because of their relationships with the PGA Tour, not because of any social backlash.”

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Richard Deitsch is answering reader questions this week in his column for The Athletic. He received several questions about the media future of LIV Golf. His answer is short and sweet. LIV Golf will end up on TV in the United States at some point.

One reader named Christopher wondered if streaming events through partners like YouTube and Facebook is hurting any momentum the tour creates every time a new golfer signs on. Another, named Merri, wondered if the lack of a TV deal that pays LIV Golf makes it less viable in the long run.

“I think LIV will get a media deal in 2023,” Deitsch answers.

What companies want to be in business with the Saudi government, which backs LIV Golf? According to Deitsch, the networks that aren’t interested would be steering clear because of their relationships with the PGA Tour, not because of any social backlash.

“If you think sports media entities will pass on LIV because of allegations of the Saudi government’s complicity with the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, or its alleged involvement in the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, or its treatment of gay people, let me introduce you to ESPN and Turner, who partner with the NBA, who partners with China, and Fox’s World Cup coverage from Russia. I think LIV will sell its rights cheap in the U.S. and someone will bite.”

LIV Golf has created some interest, but with no traditional broadcast partner, its appeal may be limited thus far. The tour attempted to purchase air time from FOX for its first event in London, but was turned down. As a result, an average audience of less than 75,000 in the United States watched.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has been outspoken in his disdain for the competition. Golfers that have signed on to LIV have been banned from PGA events. That likely means that when LIV is ready to take its product to the networks, the PGA’s TV partners, CBS, ESPN and NBC, are not likely to bite.

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Pat McAfee: Deals With Amazon/ESPN Fell Short Because The Show Comes First

“Energy, time, anything away from this show… we got a lot going on. This is my number one focus and it should remain as such…”

Jordan Bondurant

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Last week, it was announced that Pat McAfee would be hosting his own version of the popular Manning Cast only for college football games.

McAfee, co-host AJ Hawk, and the rest of his cast and crew from The Pat McAfee Show will host an alternate feed for six college football games this season.

McAfee was rumored to be in talks with Amazon about potentially hosting an alternate broadcast for its Thursday NFL games, and the former Colts punter had also reportedly talking with ESPN about potentially being featured on College GameDay.

McAfee said to Andrew Marchand of The New York Post that ultimately the Amazon and GameDay deals didn’t come to fruition because it just didn’t make sense.

“I’ve had great conversations with both companies, we just weren’t able to get to a point where ‘the ask’ and ‘the business’ were where it needed to be to get a deal done on both fronts,” McAfee said.

McAfee on his show on Monday elaborated a bit further, trying to put to bed that he was being courted for Thursday Night Football.

“I’m not 100 percent sure if that’s what we were talking about, by the way,” he said. “I was never really approached for anything for Thursday Night Football. That was never really anything.”

Pat read from the full response to Marchand’s questions, posted under the Post story which appeared on the paper’s site Monday. He reiterated that his daily show and the small business he built around his show, take precedent over anything else.

“Energy, time, anything away from this show, this operation, this crew; we got families being built, we got houses being bought, we got 12 employees, we got a lot going on,” he said. “So this is my number one focus and it should remain as such because I have a brain, and also I care a lot about this operation. I love it, actually.”

Still, McAfee made it clear that just because no deal was signed with ESPN and Amazon for 2022 means the ship has sailed permanently. He’s keeping his doors open.

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ESPN Reportedly To Lose Big Ten Media Rights For the First Time in 40 Years

The idea is that FOX would have its marquee game kick off at noon, with CBS airing a game at 3:30. NBC reportedly will air games in primetime.

Jordan Bondurant

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BIG TEN, CBS, NBC, FOX SPORTS

After several months, it appears the Big Ten is nearing the finish line on a new media rights deal. And despite still reportedly being in negotiations with the conference, ESPN is looking set to lose out on media rights.

According to John Ourand of Sports Business Journal, CBS and NBC are the frontrunners to join with FOX.

The idea is that FOX would have its marquee game kick off at noon, with CBS airing a game at 3:30. NBC reportedly will air games in primetime.

Ourand reported his sources told him ESPN’s deal to keep the Big Ten was not as strong as the one offered by the other two networks.

It would mark the first time in four decades that ESPN didn’t have some involvement in Big Ten sports. But Ourand indicates the worldwide leader could pivot into bundling Big 12 and Pac-12 rights as an alternative. Additionally the network would then pursue keeping its deals with NCAA for championship coverage as well as being the home for the College Football Playoff.

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Fox Officially Unveils NFL Broadcast Teams

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In what has been considered a formality for some time, Fox today officially unveiled Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Erin Andrews, and Tom Rinaldi as their number one NFL broadcast team Monday. Burkhardt and Olsen were elevated to Fox’s top booth after the departure of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to ESPN’s Monday Night Football earlier this year.

There were some reports that Drew Brees could have been a possibility to join the network, but those discussions fell apart.

The network’s other teams include several familiar faces to football fans:

#2 team: Joe Davis, Daryl “Moose” Johnston, Pam Oliver
#3 team: Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Kristina Pink
#4 team: Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma, Shannon Spake
#5 team: Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez, Laura Okmin
#6 team: Chris Myers, Robert Smith, Jen Hale

Olsen’s jump to the number one team with Burkhardt is a formality until the retirement of Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady. The seven-time Super Bowl winner will ascend to Fox’s number one booth upon his retirement, whenever that may be.

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