Live Golf risks becoming irrelevant in Saudi Arabia’s growing esports portfolio | Golf Leaf Series

meR says the debate over Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to the Saudi league centers on the player’s ruthless slide towards football oblivion. Ronaldo’s revelations came at the end of a year in which at least 147 people were executed in Saudi Arabia, according to the European-Saudi Organization for Human Rights. Ronaldo’s 526m Instagram and 106m Twitter followers will now get updates from the victory as football nerds discuss his slump on the pitch. the The Saudis bought One of the iconic characters in the game, which means goals and assists hardly matter. Nor is Ronaldo’s weekly wage source. Sports laundry business.

Newcastle United’s domination of the upper echelons of the Premier League and a hero-worship accorded to Eddie Howe as a direct result would be seen in the Kingdom as yet another success story. The Grand Prix has been normalized in Saudi Arabia. If Tyson Fury fought Oleksandr Usyk in Saudi Arabia in March, the boxing world would shrug his shoulders.

Golf has quickly emerged as an active Saudi sport. Anyone involved with the LIV, which has already been backed by $2 billion by the Public Investment Fund, speaks with absolute certainty of a prosperous future, but this entity enters 2023 with hovering questions and doubts. A response, if there was one, from Greg Norman and friends would be awesome. LIV suddenly needs a jump start. During this window when major golf was essentially closed, LIV was unable to gain momentum.

In late October, LIV Chief Operating Officer and President Atul Khosla spoke in a courtly manner to reporters gathered in Doral. Khosla admitted LIV needed a broadcast deal. He said the 2023 schedule would come out by the end of the following month. Khosla said the teams will be appointed for this calendar year by the end of 2022.

Shortly before Christmas, it was announced that Khosla – to many the agreeable face of LIV – had left the organization after only a year. “We respect the AKP and its personal decision,” Norman said. Sean Bratches lasted six months as Chief Commercial Officer before leaving last May. LIV’s inability to retain experienced sports executives and outside staff is interesting.

Much of that void has been filled by Performance54, a sports marketing group that Companies House shows has three Saudis on its board that includes Majed Al-Sorour – also a Newcastle manager and longtime front man in the Saudi golf operation. Meanwhile, Khosla is set to appear as a witness when The issue is between LIV members and the European Tour Group Arbitration for Sport was called in February. There’s no indication that Khosla, who is set to speak in defense of the LIV players, won’t give evidence but his position will be interesting given the surprising and so far mysterious nature of his exit from the Rebel Tour.

Dustin Johnson (left) and Cameron Smith.
Dustin Johnson (left) and Cameron Smith are two of the biggest names to defect from the PGA Tour to LIV but the talent drain has stopped recently. Photo: Cristobal Herrera/EPA

There is no television contract for LIV in the United States or the United Kingdom. The full schedule for this year is yet to come out, with only seven tournaments listed on the LIV website. Rumor has it that signings – Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schavelli being the most famous – have opted to stay on PGA Tour. If the PIF is content to give millions of dollars to Pat Perez and Peter Olehen, fair enough, but otherwise, they’ll have to pay out even bigger sums to convince big-name golfers to join LIV. With each such transaction, the potential return on investment is affected. And contrary to popular belief, ROI goals do exist.

In LIV’s defense, she can claim an extension Cameron Smith arrivesBryson Dechambeau and Dustin Johnson had a triumphant side to establish golf, but the drain on talent from the PGA Tour has subsequently stalled. If LIV stays with its now-existing cast list and without a streaming platform, it risks irrelevance. 2022’s LIV storyline was fascinating because of the “Will He, won’t he” narrative for players tempted by their blank checks. Without such a narrative in 2023, would anyone care?

LIV completed its 2022 campaign without implementing an anti-doping program, a curiosity for an entity many years and many dollars in the making. Insiders insist that will change this year. Not earning Recognition from the official world rankings In a sense it suits LIV, since it can depict mattress closings through the grueling golf mode. However it negatively affects golfers. Paul Casey, an Augusta National specialist, is ineligible for a master’s degree after slipping outside the top 50 in the world. Only seven LIV members qualified for Augusta thanks to their top 50 finishes, and of those, the average ranking was 40. It’s very likely that there will be no LIV golfers at the 2024 Paris Olympics. Legal disputes, including in US federal court, are ongoing .

A coalition of families and survivors of the 9/11 atrocities said it would protest outside the gates of Augusta National because of LIV golfers participate in the April Masters Tournament. Championship guards won’t like that.

Complaints of human rights abuses may well peter out on the Saudi sports wing, just as they apparently do for the golfers he employs on such lucrative terms. At some point, one has to take on all the heat, effort, and expense that has to become worth it. LIV used the year 2022 to disrupt golf and change the complexion of the sport forever. Nothing in the off-season suggests that Saudi Arabia’s dalliances on the trails will be as fruitful as elsewhere. As long as this danger remains, golfers inside the LIV bubble face an uncertain future.

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