The man who was tasked with business development around LIV Golf's franchise model has left the organization.
Sports Business Journal reports Matt Goodman, whose role was selling the 12 franchises that LIV Golf has created, departed the Saudi-backed company in recent weeks. The timing isn't exactly clear, but it does appear to have been precipiated by the exit of now-former LIV Golf Chief Operating Officer Atul Khosla.
Matt Goodman, the president of franchises for LIV Golf since May, is no longer with the organization, my colleague @EricPrisbell is reporting. LIV COO Atul Khosla also stepped down from his role recently pic.twitter.com/fJYb6jHz6P
— Josh Carpenter (@JoshACarpenter) January 5, 2023
Khosla is a veteran of the sports-business industry, and several experienced executive-level talents joined LIV Golf on the basis of his presence in the organization. According to No Laying Up, several sources have told them that Khosla's exit led to the exit of several others, including Goodman presumably.
LIV Golf hasn't made a comment on Goodman's departure.
The tour had hoped to identify buyers for at least a portion of each of the 12 teams it has created for its 48-player LIV Golf league it intends to start in February. Players leading each of the teams are said to have a sizable stake in their ownership, and there is the stated goal of selling control of these teams to investors and sponsors that would serve as owners. Throughout the course of 2022, the rumor mill ran constantly with attempts to connect brands associated with the breakaway players to interest in teams. Similar ideas were leaked around creating teams with the same nationality and selling to brands from those countries.
LIV Golf has struggled, however, to sell their concept to investors and sponsors -- in large part because LIV Golf hasn't found mainstream acceptance in golf. LIV Golf did not have a United States television deal for it eight-event Invitational Series, instead streaming on multiple social services and their website, and has yet to announce such a deal for the pending League series. Viewership for Invitational Series streams fell throughout the course of the season. Sponsors have not flocked to the product, and many golf fans continue to perceive LIV Golf negatively.
There have been rumors since mid-summer that CEO Greg Norman, who the PGA Tour claims serves as largely a figurehead executive, would be out of the organization as well and replaced by former TaylorMade Golf CEO Mark King. However, LIV has stood by Norman, and the Australian remains with LIV. LIV's Saudi backers have committed billions to the concept already, but they have stated publicly that the business model must ultimately work for them to continue funding the league.