The viewership reports are starting to roll through for the second LIV Golf League event of the season, and early numbers aren’t great for the Saudi Arabia-backed circuit.
The Sports Business Journal, citing a source with numbers from Nielsen, reported last week’s LIV Golf Tucson event had an average of 274,000 viewers on the CW for Sunday’s final round from Gallery Golf Club in Marana, Arizona, after an average of 284,000 viewers for Saturday’s second round. At LIV Golf Mayakoba, the season opener last month, the CW averaged 286,000 viewers for Saturday’s second round and 291,000 for Sunday’s final round. Friday’s opening rounds are only available via the CW app and other digital streams.
Outside of the viewership, the SBJ report also claimed that 24 percent of homes – or 29 million – in the United States were unable to watch LIV Golf Tucson on television because their local CW affiliate did not carry the coverage in the 1-6 p.m. ET window.
LIV Golf plans to release its own data on viewership later this week, which will predictably look different from the SBJ report citing just Nielsen numbers. The same thing happened with the Mayakoba viewership.
The league signed a multi-year revenue-sharing TV deal with the CW in January that will see its events be distributed across both not just CW affiliates, but also various Nexstar properties. It’s unclear how many watched on Nexstar stations or whether any Nexstar outlets carried LIV Golf Tucson in areas where CW affiliates elected not to. Competing with the opening weekend of the NCAA basketball tournaments surely doesn’t help the viewership numbers, either.
It’s also important to note which numbers are used in television reports. LIV reported 3.2 million total viewers across the three days in its season opener, while the Nielsen numbers cited above are average-minute audience, the industry standard. LIV is also using iSpot, a TV ad measurement and analytics company that offers a different way to measure viewership compared to Nielsen ratings.
LIV Golf will next head to Florida for its third event, March 31-April 2 at Orange County National in Orlando.