DORAL, Fla. — LIV Golf is going all out with a team format.
Ahead of Saturday’s $50 million team championship semifinals, LIV Golf officials met with some members of the media to lay out plans for the future. The main talking points focus on the 12 teams.
LIV said it aims to eventually build a business model similar to other major team sports in the U.S., such as the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL, and officials hope the franchise of its teams will create a revenue stream that will be funded by the Saudi Arabian public. Upstart circuits funded solely by investment funds are not currently available.
“Our belief is that it may not be from the beginning, but people understand team sports. They play team sports,” said Atul Khosla, COO of LIV Golf. “Yes, they also have favorite players, which is no different from anywhere else, but they do connect with a team. We feel that trend can continue in golf as well.
“The concept I understand is new in golf, but we want the inner humanity that connects with the team, that’s not.”
That said, if you can’t get behind Dustin Johnson’s 4Aces GC or Brooks Koepka’s Smash GC, LIV thinks the individual element of golfers hitting their own balls, calculating their own scores, and winning individual prizes is enough.
Believe it or not, LIV wants to complement professional golf courses and provide fans with a different form of entertainment. They will of course do the latter without clips, with Shotguns kicking off the event, offering music playback throughout the round and countless events in their fan village, in addition to the on-court offerings.
Success in 2023 — when the tour transitions to the 14-game LIV Golf League — will see 12 established teams and brands, as well as a commercialized product, Khosla said.
“We have to be on TV, we have to have corporate partners,” he explained. “These are the things we need to be successful, these are the milestones we need to achieve over the next year.”
Here are more highlights from the presentation:
LIV confirmed at an event at Trump National Bedminster earlier this summer that it would transition to the LIV Golf League in 2023, a schedule of 14 events with 48 players from 12 teams, The goal is to expand golf’s footprint in “North America and Latin America,” Asia, Australia, the Middle East and Europe. “
Of the eight events this season, five are in the United States, with one each in England, Thailand and Saudi Arabia. LIV is expected to enter the golf-starved market again in 2023, similar to its 2022 schedule, featuring stops near Portland, Boston and Chicago, as well as some players’ home countries, which would point to potential stops in Australia , South Africa and the United Kingdom. With the support of Saudi Arabia, I look forward to another stopover in Saudi Arabia.
When these events will take place is yet to be determined. LIV doesn’t want to compete with the NFL, which suggests late February starts and September ends. The league will also avoid going head-to-head with the majors and doesn’t plan to hold events the week before. LIV also wants to avoid so-called “legacy events” such as the Genesis Invitational and the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which keep schedules tight, especially with international travel. The series has produced slow news between events, which suggests a timeline for sometime in November.
New players…and the transfer window?
Khosla did not elaborate on how many new players might join the league, opting instead to “let the players negotiate on their own.” The goal is to lock down the team by the end of the year. In 2023, each team will also have a designated substitute, but only for injuries.
The most unique change when the league format takes shape will be a quasi-transfer market where players can move between teams for a period of time after their championship and before the start of next season. With a four-month break between the season finale and the upcoming season opener, some trades and free agency moves could lead to an interesting offseason.
Players will be vying for a $405 million total in 2023 and will have more opportunities to make money and compete in the Asian Tour International Series, where LIV expects players to compete in “numerous” events. After all, the LIV and PIF have invested $300 million on the Asian Tour.
75% of the 12 teams will be owned by LIV and the other 25% will be owned by key players, including captains like Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson and more. These teams will also incur new costs from their team budgets in 2023, such as player salaries, incentives and overhead, including travel and hiring of team staff.
All in all, 2023 will see some big changes that could change the future of the league.