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LIV Golf accuses PGA Tour of using 'illegal means to dissuade numerous broadcasters'

LIV Golf joins antitrust lawsuit against PGA Tour
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The contentious process of discovery and depositions in the antitrust and countersuit case between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour manifested itself in a revealing dispute this week when the “process broke down,” according to a U.S. District Court judge.

The dispute centered on when Thierry Pascal, the senior vice president international media for PGA Tour International, would submit to be deposed by LIV Golf attorneys. LIV had pushed for Pascal to be deposed on March 27 in London, but attorneys for the Tour argued they aren’t available on that date and pressed for the deposition to be taken in May when other depositions are scheduled to be held in London.

LIV Golf balked at that timing and requested the court step in, calling Pascal a “foundational” witness to LIV’s claims of anti-competitive behavior.

On Thursday, Judge Susan van Keulen appeared to agree with LIV Golf and ruled that Pascal must submit to an in-person deposition “no later than April 14,” whether the Tour’s attorneys could be present or not.

More telling than Van Keulen’s ruling is where LIV’s attorneys appear to be heading in the discovery process. “[Pascal] used illegal means to dissuade numerous broadcasters in international markets from signing broadcast contracts with LIV and even from reporting about LIV events in their news content,” LIV argued in its motion.

LIV also claimed that after meeting with Pascal “time and again … [a potential LIV Golf] broadcaster did an about face and informed LIV the negotiations could not proceed.”

LIV argued that the breakaway circuit was unable to sign a domestic broadcast rights deal in the United States in 2022 and the deal it did sign for this season with The CW is “with a secondary network, with LIV being its first sporting event.”

Earlier this week, attorneys for both sides filed a motion for a protective order to seal information sought from Fox Sports 1, but that motion was initially denied by Van Keulen.