Federal court documents show that the LIV Golf League is about to begin its second season in Mexico, with the circuit being funded by Saudi Arabias Public Investment Fund.
LIV Golf Leagues legal team made the admission in a motion filed with U.S. District Court for Northern California Monday. LIV Golf requested that U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman deny the PGA Tour’s motion to allow the addition of the Public Investment Funds governor, Yasir al-Rumayyan as plaintiffs in LIV Golfs countersuit. The tour claims LIV Golf violated its contract with players.
Mondays conference hearing was requested by the PGA Tours lawyers to discuss the possibility of extending discovery deadlines and the Jan 2024 trial date. This is because Al-Rumayyan and the Public Investment Fund allegedly failed to comply discovery and depositions.
Freeman has scheduled a February 24 case management meeting to hear both sides arguments.
The Tour’s motion to amend should not be granted because the amendment would have been futile, would result in unfair prejudice, and was unduly dragged out and clearly intended to inappropriately delay this case and resolution of Plaintiffs’ antitrust claims, LIV Golfs attorneys wrote Monday.
LIV will suffer equally if the litigation is delayed because the Tour continues its anticompetitive conduct. LIV has suffered from the Tours damage, which has led to LIVs costs rising by hundreds of millions of dollar and reducing revenues to practically zero.
Atul Khosla, former president and COO of LIV Golf, told ESPN in October about how the Public Investment Fund spent $784 Million to bankroll the circuit’s first season in 2022. This included salaries for employees, build-outs at tournaments, and production costs related to broadcasting LIV events on social networks and its official website.
Khosla, who quit in December, stated that that total did NOT include guaranteed, multiyear contracts that players might have, which could be as high as one-third. According to several published reports, LIV paid up to $200 million for six-time major champion Phil MickelsonAt least $150 million Dustin JohnsonMore than $125 Million Bryson deChambeauReigning Open Championship winner will receive at least $100 million Cameron Smith. LIV Golf officials declined to disclose details about the contracts of the players.
LIV Golfs attorneys stated Monday that the PGA Tours alleged antitrust behavior had jeopardized some of its players careers, including Matt Jones Peter UihleinDeChambeau and Jones are also plaintiffs in the federal antitrust suit. Jay Monahan, PGA Tour commissioner, suspended Jones and Uihlein for playing in LIV Golf tournaments that were not released as conflicting-event releases.
LIV Golfs lawyers wrote that the delay could cause prejudice to Plaintiffs Jones, Uihlein and they may be unable to earn a living as a professional during the peak of their careers. Mr. Jones and Mr. Uihleins professions are uncertain in 2024. Some Player Plaintiffs are not bound by LIV beyond 2023 and are therefore banned from the PGA Tour, European Tour and other tours around world. Player Plaintiffs are denied the playing opportunities they have earned and need to be resolved on the enforceability, suspensions and conduct of the Tours Regulations.
And many other golfers in LIV, as well as other professional and collegiate players who are considering playing on the Asian Tour or LIV, are making decisions about the future and need clarity from Court. The Plaintiffs need relief as soon as possible, and certainly not later than the current January 2024 trial.
LIV Golf announced, on January 19, that it had signed a multiyear U.S. broadcast and streaming agreement to air its live tournaments on its network and streaming app.
The financial terms of this deal were not disclosed. ESPN reported that it is a revenue sharing arrangement. Sources also indicated that LIV Golf would not receive rights fees from CW, but that it would continue to pay production expenses, just as it did during its first season in 2022.
The second LIV Golf season will begin on February 24-26 at El Camaleon Golf Course, Mayakoba. LIV Golf hosts 14 tournaments. This season, there will be 54-hole tournaments.