The PGA Tour and LIV Golf have been unable to agree on much since LIV filed a complaint for a violation of antitrust laws against the PGA Tour on Aug. 3, 2022.
The most recent dustup is about the time and place of a deposition for Thierry Pascal, Senior Vice President of International Media for PGA Tour International, according to court documents obtained by Sports Illustrated.
LIV Golf maintained in a joint statement filed on March 22 in U.S. District Court, Northern District Court of California, that the PGA Tour is obstructing their opportunity to depose Pascal on the agreed-upon date of March 27 in London.
In calling Pascal a “foundational witness,” or a witness whose testimony will inform later discovery in important ways, LIV Golf believes that Pascal was the central Tour figure who used illegal means to dissuade numerous broadcasters in international markets from signing contracts with LIV Golf and also from reporting LIV Golf events in their news content.
LIV Golf also maintained in the Joint Statement that Pascal somehow turned a potential broadcaster, who had signed a contract, from following through with broadcasting LIV Golf events.
LIV Golf ultimately made a deal with the CW Network, which LIV Golf counsel calls “a secondary network” in its filing.
The argument that the PGA Tour has manipulated the broadcast landscape is not new.
In its original complaint filed in August 2022, LIV Golf maintained that the Tour had compromised LIV Golf’s ability to secure a television broadcast contract, a critical component of any sustainable elite golf tour.
LIV went further, suggesting the PGA Tour’s media rights regulations precluded LIV Golf from securing agreements to broadcast its tournaments because United States platforms are disinclined to sign a broadcast contract with LIV Golf while the Tour claims to control media rights of the players participating in LIV Golf tournaments.
In neither the complaint filed in August 2022 or in the Joint Statement filed on Wednesday did LIV Golf provide any concrete facts of the manipulation by Pascal or the PGA Tour.
LIV Golf’s hope is that by deposing Pascal they will learn of his alleged misdeeds and then build on that, according to the joint statement.
“Mr. Pascal’s deposition will significantly enhance Judge [Beth Labson] Freeman’s insight into the harm to competition and the public interest implicated by the Tour’s abuse of monopoly power,” LIV Golf argued in the joint statement. “A necessary input to the Court’s balancing of interests in deciding a stay; Mr. Pascal’s deposition could provide important evidence to Her Honor.”
With the clock ticking toward March 27, expect the court to respond soon.
Source : SI