Quentin Batalillon

General News 2024

LIV Golf loses important streaming partner halfway through the season

One of the LIV Golf League’s major streaming partners, Caffeine TV, announced it will cease operations on Wednesday.

The company released a statement citing its struggle to turn a profit.

“We are at the point where we are still not fully profitable, so we have made the decision to end the service effective June 26 while we determine our next steps. We have had a huge impact on the sector and will soon do it again, in a different way. Many thanks to everyone involved. We will remember this for the rest of our lives.”

Launched in 2016, Caffeine aimed to offer a Twitch-like streaming platform focused on esports, video games and live entertainment. It quickly pivoted to niche sports content, such as the World Surfing League and the X Games.

Caffeine has raised more than $100 million in investment from the Murdoch family (21st Century Fox). It ultimately raised more than $300 million with significant contributions from VC giant Andreessen Horowitz and Disney.

Rather than strike a deal with a tech giant amid the sports rights boom, LIV Golf settled a deal with Caffeine for its digital broadcast rights in February. (These streams are no longer available). Money aside, the deal was seen as curious for a league (theoretically) trying to gain credibility while competing (theoretically) with the PGA Tour.

LIV Golf is in the second year of a two-year revenue-sharing deal with The CW. Through the first four events of 2024, the Saudi-backed company — which has a legitimately innovative television product — has seen modest but notable increases in linear viewership.

LIV Golf will now be without a paid streaming rights partner for the final six events of the third full season.

With nine events in 2024 on the books, LIV’s three most recent high-profile PGA Tour coups set the bar high. Joaquin Niemann currently leads the individual points standings by a significant margin, having won at Mayakoba and Jeddah. (Caffeine showed that two million people had streamed LIV Jeddah – featuring the shocking return of Anthony Kim – though those figures were just clicks.)

Jon Rahm, still seeking his first LIV trophy, is second in the standings thanks to top 10 finishes in each event. Tyrrell Hatton, fresh off a win in Nashville, is third.

Crushers GC, led by 2024 US Open winner Bryson DeChambeau, leads the team standings, just ahead of Rahm’s Legion XIII and Niemann’s Torque GC.

Meanwhile, representatives of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), which finances LIV, have been in talks with PGA Tour officials for weeks as negotiations on a new framework agreement gradually get underway.

On Friday of the RBC Canadian Open, Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan and PIF Chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan, among others, met in New York.

LIV next heads to Andalusia (July 12-14), Great Britain (July 26-28), Greenbrier (August 16-18) and Chicago (September 13-15) before culminating in the team championship in Dallas (September). 20-22).

To the great annoyance of its members, LIV Golf’s results are still not recognized by the official world golf rankings. This limits its players’ chances of participating in majors and the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.