Turner has secured the pay-per-view rights to an 18-hole duel between golf superstars Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson set for Thanksgiving weekend in Las Vegas. Plans for the event are a sign of how AT&T hopes to leverage its expanded media reach now that it has the former Time Warner assets in the fold.
The event is dubbed “The Match” and will feature Woods and Mickelson vying to win a $9 million prize. The pay-per-view coverage will be produced through Turner’s sports-focused Bleacher Report website. HBO, TNT, and Bleacher Report will carry a raft of related programming leading up to the event, to be hosted by MGM Resorts International at Sin City’s Shadow Creek Golf Course.
The pay-per-view telecast will be distributed via the newly minted B/R Live banner — an effort by Turner to squeeze more revenue out of Bleacher Report — and will be offered to other on-demand platforms outside of the AT&T universe. AT&T’s DirecTV and U-verse MVPDs will give “The Match” a huge amount of promotion to the combined subscriber base of more than 25 million. Turner’s international arm will handle distribution of the PPV event outside the U.S.
“The iconic Tiger Woods and five-time Major Champion Phil Mickelson are generational talents who have transcended the game of golf and their rivalry continues to be one of the most compelling in sports,” Turner president David Levy said. “This one-of-a-kind, winner-take-all matchup provides a great opportunity to show fans the benefits of AT&T and WarnerMedia coming together. For the first time since AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner (now WarnerMedia), Turner, DirecTV, and HBO will present a multi-faceted presentation of the live event and accompanying content across a vast array of platforms.”
Woods and Mickelson announced the made-for-TV event on Wednesday with a conversation held via Twitter. “Think you will earn some bragging rights?” Woods asked Mickelson in a tweet. Mickelson replied, “I bet you think this is the easiest $9M you will ever make,” punctuated by a crying-face emoji.
Woods and Mickelson are among the biggest names in golf, who together account for a total of 19 wins of major PGA tournaments. The two are promising to raise the stakes during the event by making side-challenges with each other to benefit various charities.
Turner Sports will handle production of the event and its Turner Ignite Sports unit will handle media and sponsorship sales. Pricing for the PPV has not yet been disclosed.
Media rights for “The Match” were negotiated by CAA Sports, Excel Sports, and Lagardere Sports.
(Pictured: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson)