Sook: LIV Golf Scores Sales For CW Affiliates

The Nexstar CEO said: “At the local level [LIV Golf] is selling like gangbusters. Car dealers are not deeply involved in national or international geopolitical conversations. They want to move product. This is televised sports. They’re all in.”

“We’ve spoken to everyone,” Nexstar Media Group Chairman-CEO Perry Sook said when asked about the next big sports deal for his company. But he told the MoffettNathanson Inaugural Technology, Media and Telecom Conference Wednesday that the first sports deal for The CW Network — LIV Golf — is proving the value of live sports on broadcast TV.

“Our affiliates were 100% for it,” Sook said. “We cleared it in 48 hours around the country.” And that, he noted, was without the CW affiliates owned by Paramount, due to CBS’s relationship with the PGA.

“At the local level this is selling like gangbusters. Car dealers are not deeply involved in national or international geopolitical conversations. They want to move product. This is televised sports. They’re all in,” Sook told the investor gathering.

“And the sales at the network have increased every tournament,” he added.

Michael Nathanson wanted to know about the company’s mix of national advertising with its traditional base of local.

“Local is very important. We talk about the fact that local business is about 70% of our advertising. That’s stable and steady. But if you look at the overall national market, it is twice the size of the local market. And so now that we’ve got The CW and NewsNation, and we’ve got multicast networks as our national assets, we’re not only in the room in a material way with a lot of these national advertisers — believe me that there’s opportunity there to grow that and to take a bigger piece of that pie,” said Nexstar CFO Lee Ann Gliha.


In addition, she said there’s a national opportunity for the company’s local station group. “We cover 68% of the population. We’re in the major DMAs of the country. So, if I’m that national advertiser, I can provide something at Nexstar that nobody else can. I’ve got that same national reach that you can get from any of the major broadcast networks, but now I’ve got this ability to get the consumers in the door at my store at the local level — because my footprint at the local level is 75% bigger than any of the other major networks. Think about Fox — we’re 75% bigger from the local perspective than they are,” the CFO told investors.

What’s the advertising outlook for the rest of this year?

“If you look at core — let’s put political aside — core, local and national. Local’s performing much better than national. But I would say that both have slowed slightly from the results we posted in the first quarter,” Sook said.

“I can tell you that a bright spot you just haven’t seen yet is political advertising,” Sook continued. “We got political presidential PAC money earlier in this cycle for ’24 than we have for any before. Our first dollar came in April of this year. So we think that is a harbinger of the quantum of money that will be spent between now and November [’24]. We think there will be more spent the balance of ’23 than most folks are thinking. It will not be a game-changer, but we think the trends are certainly our friends.”

What about auto?

“We’re still very off where our highs were, post-pandemic,” Gliha said. “But auto’s been up for the last few quarters. It’s still up. There’s some impact from some of the Japanese manufacturers who don’t have as much inventory on the lot as they would have liked to have. And then we’ve got the issues with the overall interest rate environment, which is impacting new car buying. But it’s recovering and it’s nice to see that.”

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AIMTV says:

May 18, 2023 at 2:11 pm

I didn’t realize chopping up a journalist in a foreign embassy or regularly imprisoning and torturing women was a “geopolitical” issue. I thought it was a human, moral issue, but hey, so long as everyone’s making money… all good?! I guess.