My Love Letter to LIV..

In an ideal world, everyone would play nice and I love Rory McIlroy‘s idea that this could be an IPL-style comp in the off-season, taking golf to new markets and new audiences. But we are where we are. And though I love much of what they’re doing, there are a few opportunities which could dramatically accelerate LIV Golf‘s journey and deliver the potential I believe they have. As a fully confessed golf-nerd, it was this graphic that really drew me in. Say what you like about some of the personalities in here, the team structure or the fact that it’s a different format, I just love watching really great golfers play competitive golf!

LIV clearly has some reputation issues. Some of this is fair, but much of it is not. Golf fans can be loyal, somewhat traditional and generally don’t like change. From my POV, LIV should embrace the disruption they’re causing and emphasise the positive aspects of their league in front of as many golf fans as possible.

Two of the features about the format I hear most from fellow golf fans are the shotgun start and the team structure. Yes, golf courses may have been designed in a certain order, but they’re often played the wrong way round and the players are already actively thinking about this (who’s going to start or finish on easier holes etc..). This doesn’t really come across in the broadcast and by highlighting action from different parts of the course simultaneously and some of these nuances, it would enhance viewer engagement and acceptance of the format.

From a team POV, it works in every other sport and it works on the Ryder Cup so why not here? But it’s going to take time to deepen fans connections with the teams and there’s potentially a strong seam of digital content that could play a role here. It’s just a shame the team names sound like they’ve come straight out of a marketing brainstorm.

On the whole, I really like the overall look and feel of the graphics package. It’s loud, on brand and used really effectively in interstitials and promos. But I would look to roll their usage back 10% to 15% on screen. I’ve always had a rule that any on-screen graphics need to enhance the viewer experience. Too much information is impossible to take in whilst simultaneously trying to view the action on screen and certainly doesn’t need to live there permanently.

Circled duplicated info. In fact, the lower graphics bar doesn’t offer anything additional, it’s cool that you can put up a map of the hole, but can the viewer actually see anything, does it enhance the experience?

I love some of the new and fresh voices they’re using. As an emerging brand driving hard to appeal to a broader audience, I would think carefully about some of the more ‘experienced’ voices being used to ensure it doesn’t feel too traditional.

Though they have a few broadcast deals (e.g. US, Spain) around the world, there’s significant opportunity in the extensive presence they’ve built on the largest video platform in the world, YouTube. They’re currently sat at around 150k views per day but competition weekends push that up to 700k or 800k daily views whereas the intervening week or weeks run at sub 100k. None ‘live’ or ‘main highlights’ videos generally deliver <10k views and they really should be at 10x – 20x that.

A lot of content is being produced and so it shouldn’t be too difficult to rebalance the schedule away from competition weekends so they can maintain consistent upload momentum (every other day?) which will be essential to growing the channel. Currently c. 40 videos are published over competition weekend with just 2 being published in the 2 weeks between Las Vegas and Jeddah.

Publishing across YouTube Shorts and TikTok is a little better but still could be ratcheted up a notch, TikTok is even hungrier than YouTube (and rewards accordingly). TikTok content should be more if a conversation (less ‘broadcasty’): ‘How Many Times Will Niemann Win This Year?‘, ‘Could you make this putt?‘, get playful and really try to drive interactivity.

Make sure comments are responded to, give the fans something back and let them know that they’re being heard. Make them advocates to spread the word and also get them to help curate the strategy for the kind of content they want and will respond to.

Content partnerships with YouTube Golfers should be critical to help create relevant content and bring new subscribers to the channel. I’ll go out on a limb and suggest LIV are not short of a bob or two but increased performance will help generate a decent income to cover more investment. Get a few YouTubers (e.g. Rick Shiels , Good Good, Bob Does Sports, or Grant Horvat) down to play in the pro-am on Thursdays or doing course previews (etc..). Let them come up with a bunch of their own content ideas too.

Content needs to be repurposed and optimised for the platform with the understanding content will be there forever (e.g. take time to recut presser interviews). LIV has access to incredible talent and can use their extensive analytics to identify the types of content that’s performing for other golf brands. Why can’t I see ‘every shot from Niemann’s stunning 59 shot round’, or ‘this is how Bryson plans to play every hole at Jeddah’.

PLEASE(!) start to experiment and formulate a decent thumbnail strategy (look at Rich Shiels or Bryson for tips on where to start). Get a graphic designer and start to use a service like TubeBuddy so you can A/B test the thumbnails and optimise them for your audience.

And some fundamentals (don’t use effectively the same thumbnail for two different videos).

When the strategy has been polished and updated, start to use Paid Media to get key content in front of your potential audience. There’s a huge audience of golf fans on YouTube and given the regular and hi-quality content available from LIV, this really should be punching A LOT harder!

So there’s a lot to love here. There could be even more! And if you’re in the UK it’s all free on YouTube! Sadly, I’m not sure my shaky 13 handicap has registered with Greg Norman yet, but if you need any help with your content and digital strategy, I’m available (to be clear I’m also available for golf if you need me!)