Bratches at LIV Golf set up a strategy of sponsorships and media rights and hired broadcaster David Hill to set up a production teamGetty Images
Days after Greg Norman’s incendiary comments in reference to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, LIV Golf’s top business exec abruptly quit the startup league. Sean Bratches resigned as LIV Golf Chief Commercial Officer last week and is no longer associated with the league, according to sources. Norman informed company execs of Bratches’ departure yesterday, and word spread around the sports community over the next day. Bratches declined to comment. His departure after a six-month run is a huge blow for Saudi-backed LIV Golf, which is scheduled to hold its first tournament June 9-11 from the Centurion Club outside of London. Bratches’ hiring back in November gave the league instant credibility given his sterling reputation from a three-decade career at ESPN and four-year stint at F1. During his time at LIV, Bratches set up a strategy on sponsorships and media rights, and he hired legendary broadcaster David Hill to set up a production team for the league. Bratches’ resignation comes just days after Norman, the CEO of LIV Golf, was asked about the Saudis' involvement in the murder of The Washington Post’s Khashoggi. “Look, we’ve all made mistakes,” Norman said during a LIV Golf Media Day event. “You just want to learn from those mistakes and how you can correct them going forward.” Bratches was on the dais as Norman made those comments, which have been severely criticized in by the press worldwide.
GAVE LEAGUE RESPECTIBILITY: Bratches was considered the most respected business executive in the organization. In an editorial published last month, the founder and publisher of Global Golf Post Jim Nugent called on LIV Golf to have Bratches replace Norman as CEO. “As Norman’s successor, Bratches could be the bridge builder who could get a meeting with anyone in golf and find ways to mesh Golf Saudi’s long-term vision with the game’s existing ecosystem,” Nugent wrote. “That’s the only way LIV is going to have real success.”