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LIV Golf hopes David Hill can bring innovative broadcasts to league

Hill will need to create an entertainment product around the new golf league so captivating that fans can’t not watchLIV GOLF

LIV Golf Investments hired former Fox Sports exec David Hill as a production consultant to "do what he has always done: help make innovative television," according to James Colgan of GOLF.com. Hill will have a "hornet’s nest of problems to solve -- from the shape and feel of a new-look golf telecast, to the platform the broadcast will air on, to the broadcast changes that will help" the Greg Norman-led tour "stand apart from the PGA Tour." Hill will need to "create an entertainment product so captivating that fans can’t not watch." Hill said, “What Greg wants to do is to create what we see as the most exciting golf television ever.” Hill "hinted to a series of innovations that have long been rumored in conjunction with Norman’s league." Hill said, “The three-day event, the 54 holes -- anything you can compress makes things better. ... With the shotgun start, everything happens between 2-6 p.m." He added, "You have this concentrated drama in front of you. ... It’s not a slow, linear progression." Colgan noted the league still needs a TV deal, but finding a broadcast partner "might prove prickly." Fox would "seem to be a clear favorite," but the net’s "appetite for golf is unclear after it dumped its TV deal with the USGA." Because of their deals with the PGA Tour, CBS and NBC would "seem to be out of the picture" (GOLF.com, 1/25).

STATE OF SPORTS TV: The N.Y. POST's Andrew Marchand noted Hill has a "few things to consider about the state of sports on TV." Hill said, "All sports are facing a difficult future, with the exception of the NFL. I think the most worrying trend is why aren’t young Americans following in the steps of their parents and becoming avid fans?” He added, “The big worry for sports is video games. That time I spent working for ESL (a sports video game league) opened my eyes to the fact that I could walk into stadiums with 24-year-olds (on average) paying up to 400 euros a ticket to watch 10 guys sitting at a table with their heads down playing World of Warcraft or Fortnite or whatever.” Hill: “It’s not 1985 anymore. It’s not three networks and nothing else. Sports have to realize they can’t keep doing the same thing, year in, year out, decade in, decade out, because their audience changes their perceptions (now) on a minute-by-minute basis" (N.Y. POST, 1/25).

SBJ Spotlight: TikTok’s threat to traditional sports media

While tech companies are consumed with finding ways to compete with TikTok, almost no one in conventional media “spends any time talking about it,” said Recode senior correspondent Peter Kafka in an Spotlight interview with SBJ’s John Ourand. “To me, that’s just an obvious disconnect.” Kafka authored a recent column headlined, “It’s TikTok’s world. Can TV live in it?” He said the main response to TikTok’s growth from traditional media execs has been to “punt and hope it’s someone else’s problem a quarter from now or two years from now.” But Kafka said that ignores the trend of conventional broadcast audiences growing older while a billion younger consumers spend most of their media time watching short video after short video. “If you’re in the business of getting anyone under the age of 30 to look at what you’re putting on a screen, you have to think about the fact that you’re probably asking them to put down TikTok and watch your thing instead,” said Kafka. “That’s a very difficult ask. … [TikTok] is insanely addictive.”

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