How Turner is going big with ‘The Match’
It seems obvious that Turner’s coverage of “The Match” — the planned pay-per-view golf match between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson on Nov. 23 — will attract a tiny audience, at least in broadcast television terms. But last week two sports business executives applauded Turner’s strategy of making the event available via its B/R Live streaming service.
“The [sports] industry is under incredible pressure,” said Dan Cohen, a senior vice president at Octagon. “On the content side, it’s about the technology — following the fan and being where the fan is and delivering that at a high cost of entry in terms of rights fees. … There is all of this pressure to generate new revenue, catch up with technology — where the fans are all going. That requires taking some measured risks. If you don’t take measured risks now, you’ll be paying for it five years from now.”
Cohen talked about the advantages of having Turner use HBO to market the event through a reality series with Woods and Mickelson; Bleacher Report to market programming to younger consumers; and B/R Live to host the event. The PPV sells for $19.99.
“Nothing’s ever been distributed across so many different channels uniquely and uniformly like this,” Cohen said.
Geoff Reiss, general manager and vice president at Yahoo Sports, agreed.
“My hope is that if it disappoints them, they don’t throw the baby and the bath water out together,” he said. “There are plenty of ways to create a connected journey across all of those touch points. … I don’t know if building that machine around a pair of 40-year-old golfers is necessarily the thing I want to see them building right now. If HBO was still in the boxing business, for example, a fight would be a phenomenal way to build that same machine.”