Whenever Tiger Woods plays golf, it’s a big event. However, Woods and Phil Mickelson took that to a new level last Thanksgiving weekend with The Match in Vegas, drawing close to a million paying customers on pay-per-view.
Now Discovery Communications’ Golf TV, with which Woods signed an exclusive content partnership in 2018, will look to capitalize on Woods’ resurgence with a series of worldwide matches the service will distribute worldwide.
Golf TV, which was created in 2018, delivers over-the-top and traditional TV coverage of PGA Tour events in a burgeoning number of international countries. The service, created in partnership with the PGA Tour, represents a multi-billion-dollar investment in expanding the global footprint of the game.
The Woods partnership has been billed as a prominent content initiative in addition to PGA Tour broadcast rights. So far, Woods has provided exclusive post-round interviews to the service and host Henni Zuel, while also filming a number of other interviews, including with caddie Joe Lacava, friend Fred Couples and others. Discovery has promised instructional content, as well behind-the-scenes looks at Woods’ life and career. This new series, announced by Discovery CEO David Zaslav at the CAA World Congress of Sports, is an extension of the partnership.
The first match has already been set to take place in Tokyo, though the date, location, opponent(s) and format have yet to be announced.
Zaslav also indicated the bulk of the matches will be played outside of the United States, which makes sense given Golf TV’s international footprint. The format is subject to change, based on feedback from Woods, opponents and viewers.
While Zaslav’s comments certainly weren’t meant to be a full-blown announcement of the whole concept, the big open question remains if American viewers will have access to the matches live or on-demand. Golf TV is effectively the international distribution vehicle for PGA Tour Live and PGA Tour rights. However, the PGA Tour has partnered with NBC Sports to distribute PGA Tour Live in the United States, and American golf fans cannot subscribe to Golf TV. Perhaps that will change with this new series, though there are certainly considerations for NBC Sports as a broadcast and streaming partner, as well CBS Sports, with both major networks in a negotiation cycle for the future of PGA Tour distribution rights.
It’s also unclear what this series could mean for a future series of The Match sequels featuring Woods and Mickelson. The two legends formed a company specifically to handle negotiations, rights deals and more relating to future similar extravaganzas.