LIV Golf is the biggest disruptor across the sports landscape in some time, having taken several star players from the PGA Tour over the past year.
But as the Greg Norman-led circuit tees off its fifth event Friday in Chicago, news and speculation isn't focused on who will win at Rich Harvest Farms, but rather where the circuit's media rights future is headed.
While LIV seemed to grab some momentum across the sports consciousness (and NY sports betting) with Dustin Johnson's win weeks ago in Boston, the league's media rights negotiations took a hit earlier this week with both Apple and Amazon saying they wouldn't engage in negotiations, per the Wall Street Journal.
LIV currently airs free of charge on YouTube and the league's own website, but Norman has been bullish on landing a lucrative media deal ahead of 2023 to capitalize on the value of live sports.
One problem? The controversy around the league's Saudi-backing, plus the division it has caused across the world of pro golf.
While that controversy (and a couple tech giants bowing out) could lead to LIV sticking with the status quo for next year, we can still read the tea leaves to see where the league could land in season two.
Here's a look at where EmpireStakes sees LIV Golf potentially airing in 2023 and beyond, should NY betting apps begin offering odds.
Odds On LIV Golf Media Rights
The Favorite: Fox Sports
A former big-time player in golf media, Fox Sports has long been a potential suitor for LIV, though a deal is far from a certainty.
Norman has history with Fox, but whether that would be an asset in negotiations or a hinderance remains to be seen.
Norman served as Fox's lead analyst for the U.S. Open and other properties in 2015, though it was a quick tenure. The Shark lasted just one year in that chair, and the awkwardness of the split would have to be addressed if the two sides were to come together again.
However, there are several more factors that make Fox a logical landing place for LIV.
After dumping the USGA package several years ago, Fox is currently open for golf business. And unlike CBS Sports, NBC Sports, and ESPN, the net does not have an existing relationship with the PGA Tour.
Meanwhile, longtime Fox executive David Hill came aboard the LIV team in January as a consultant, and it's easy to connect the dots to the sports media brand he helped create.
While the WSJ report said that Fox so far has not been willing to strike a deal, Front Office Sports late Thursday reported the net is "the leading contender for LIV’s U.S. media rights."
Time will tell if these factors lead to LIV on Fox airwaves, but the net is well-positioned to make a play for the golf upstart, should it want to get back into the sport.
The Sleeper: Netflix?
After Fox Sports, the tea leaves get murky.
With CBS, NBC, and Disney-owned ESPN (ABC) in the PGA Tour business, LIV would likely turn to a streaming service should a deal with Fox fall through. And options like Peacock, Paramount + and Hulu are far from likely due to their parent companies.
Enter Netflix, a streaming behemoth that has yet to make a strong foray into live sports, despite having popular properties like the F1 show "Drive to Survive" as well as an upcoming PGA Tour show.
Why do we like Netflix's odds to land LIV? The company took the temperature on F1 rights earlier this year, so they've shown an appetite to expand into live sports.
Also, golf outlet The Fried Egg reported that Netflix brass was on-site at the first LIV event this past summer in London. We doubt that was simply to follow through on the upcoming PGAT show that Johnson was participating in before his jump to LIV.
Who else could make a play for LIV Golf?
The company behind a family of media-streaming devices has positioned itself as an agnostic platform for content. But could it provide the reach LIV desires, or the hefty rights fee?
Don't laugh. The Texas-based OTT service is already in the live sports business with the Colonial Athletic Association, select CONCACAF matches and a grass roots racing series.
But they likely aren't a big enough service for LIV just yet.
EmpireStakes.com often does hypothetical odds on pro sports as well as provide the best NY betting promos.