Its only a matter of time before LIV Golf becomes the next big thing in sports.
Prior to working in sports media and having my own radio show on golf, I was an award winning music agent and concert promoter for 20 years. I’ve helped develop singers, rappers, DJ’s and rock bands go from complete unknowns to platinum selling artists and award winning musicians. I also taught at a music college in Toronto for eight years so I have a better understanding than most of trends of success in the entertainment industry.
The term “overnight success” is a complete fallacy. At best, it takes at least two years from the day a band or singer gets signed to the point they become “known” and the fruits of their success start to develop. However, more often than not its a much slower grind of three to four years to get a band to the point of significant success.
Seeing the emergence of the LIV Golf League in less than 12 months is nothing short of astonishing.
To start from scratch in June of 2022 with their first event in London, England to the sold-out Coachella music festival like atmosphere in Adelaide, Australia in April of 2023 with 80,000 tickets sold is beyond impressive.
If you compare LIV to the current state of the PGA Tour which has been in existence since the late 1960’s, there will of course be numerous discrepancies. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the PGA Tour has better TV and radio deals in place and it should be expected that most PGA Tour events would have much larger crowds in attendance than the upstart LIV Golf League.
The PGA Tour has a 50 year head start on LIV so its no different than comparing the success of The Rolling Stones to Olivia Rodrigo who won the Best New Artist award at the Grammy’s in 2022.
However, if you compare LIV to the numerous fledgling sports leagues that have come and gone over the past 20 years with little to no success, the accomplishments of CEO Greg Norman become that much more impressive.
As a former music agent who has produced concert tours for dozens of Grammy winners, if you have cities on some of the bands early concert tours explode and sell out like the LIV event in Australia, 99 times out of 100 its only a matter of time before every city on future concert tours will be completely sold out and as raucous as that event in Adelaide.
The rest of the cities almost always catch up before you have an entire tour (or LIV season) completely sold out coast to coast.
Its also natural for developing bands to have a concert tour in place where one night they’re selling out a well known venue in a major city and then the next night they’re playing in a half empty club in a small town. Each show becomes equally important to the long term success of the band because they’re developing fans one by one across the country. Some nights are more glamorous than others in the beginning stages.
The same can be said for LIV where Australia was a raging success but then the following week their event in Singapore ended up being very good, just not as great as it was the week prior down under.
The Greek tragedian Aeschylus once said, “It is in the character of very few men to honour without envy a friend who has prospered.”
That statement has never been more fitting when it comes to the opinions of those connected to the PGA Tour including the players, executives and broadcasters.
People often ask what the main secret to success is when it comes to developing a band or singer from scratch into a worldwide star and the answer is simple; talent.
You do need a good manager, agent and record label in your corner, but talent overrides everything.
While LIV Golf isn’t perfect, the league is loaded with talent; real talent.
The best move Norman made was over paying for A-list talent like Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Cameron Smith, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed and Bubba Watson because their world class talent can silence any argument put forth against the new league. Talent overrides everything.
The TV deal may not be the right fit just yet and fan attendance will be inconsistent from city to city for now, but the talent is there to achieve real success and its only a matter of time before it all comes together.
When you’ve been a part of the blueprint for success in developing an idea from nothing into something it becomes much easier to recognize what the next big thing will be. That’s why you have the same managers and agents sustaining success in entertainment because they just rinse and repeat a similar formula over and over with their new artists.
You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need.
The next big thing in sports is LIV Golf. Bet on it.