LIV Bangkok proves that the ‘world’ tour is a double-edged sword

Eugenio Lopez-Chicarra won his first event at LIV Golf this weekend.

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On a Sunday afternoon in Bangkok, Eugenio Lopez Shikara 22-year-old professional won his first LIV golf event.

It was an amazing win for Chicarra, the kind that people at LIV have undoubtedly been waiting to see for quite some time now. Chicarra is one of the youngest members of a talented twenty-year-old crew of uber at LIV – a group that the League hopes will shape Abundance as its future core. His win ticked a few more boxes for LIV, marking a major introduction to a foreign market and providing the Chicarra team, the Fireballs, with their first-ever win. In a rare feat for startups, the $4.7 million Shikara winning check wasn’t the main story, but just the cherry on top of a very beautiful Sunday.

That is, if you are up to see it.

The bars weren’t open in New York City when Shikara’s final hit reached the bottom of the cup at 4:25 a.m. local time. Even the city that never sleeps has chosen Nirvana. Those on the West Coast, where it was 1:25 a.m., were preparing for their last call. In London, where LIV hosted its first event, Shikara’s win may have interrupted breakfast.

Less than half of the 600,000 fans or so made it to the final rounds of LIV Boston, Chicago and Bedminster on youtube Did not watch the last round of LIV Bangkok. The reaction on social media, where startups have invested heavily in recent months, has been decidedly muted. Even the reaction appeared to be muted in Thailand itself, where a crowd decidedly smaller than any of LIV’s previous US events turned up.


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These were, of course, expected results. LIV knew that bringing her tour to the other side of the world would weaken her references with fans. This, after all, is what happens every time the PGA Tour heads to Europe for the DP World Tour or the Open Championship, or what happens every week to overseas PGA Tour fans who tune in at odd hours to watch their favorite players.

“This is a world tour,” Sergio Garcia said in the wake of Chikara’s win on Sunday. “It is not a tour of the United States, and it is not a tour of Europe. This is a world tour.”

To this end, he is right. fiber he is A world tour, but not everything that comes with a world tour is good for business. Viewership numbers and lukewarm interest are also the other side of it, where a big and ambitious vision begins to run counter to any consortium’s core business strategy: to best serve its audience. This comes at a surprising time in business for startups, which face a series of business decisions in the coming months that could dramatically alter their long-term viability.

YouTube’s LIV numbers are still of particular interest for this reason. League closed Negotiations with potential partners For its media rights, the potential value of any such deal is closely linked to the league’s ability to attract large audiences on a regular basis (and thus attract enough advertiser interest to justify paying for the rights).

Golf Week I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that LIV was close to a deal with Fox Sports that would do it Pay The network broadcasts its tournaments on FS1 – an agreement that would go against the traditional structure of sports rights deals. LIV has since disputed this report as inaccurate, but the report talks about the importance the league has attached to securing a rights agreement, and the difficulty it has had in attracting an important partner thus far.

In Bangkok, LIV has theoretically demonstrated its best argument for legitimacy in the golf world. A young rookie player won a championship in a new market filled with big names, securing life-changing salaries under the watchful eye of his team captain and compatriot, Sergio Garcia. But in doing so, LIV has also shown the worst arguments against it. A small, sparsely attended tournament took place in the middle of the night (in the US) and had a hard time capturing the interest of even the most ardent fans of the event.

On a Sunday afternoon in Bangkok, anxiety had not yet reached the winner’s circle by the time Shikara and fireballs celebrated a decisive victory.

“We are very proud and grateful to LIV for putting their faith in us in trying to bring golf everywhere in the world and make it grow,” said Garcia. “To see all these kids out there supporting us and having fun, that’s what we always try to do.”

This might make sense. Back home in the United States, the anxiety was still fast asleep.

James Colgan

Golf.com Editor

James Colgan is an associate editor at GOLF, contributing stories to the site and magazine. Hot Mic writes GOLF’s weekly media column, and uses his expertise in broadcasting across social media and the brand’s video platforms. James, who graduated in 2019 from Syracuse University — and obviously his golf course — still thawed four years ago in the snow. Prior to joining GOLF, James was a scholarship holder (and a smart looper) in Long Island, where he belongs. He can be reached at james.colgan@golf.com.

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