AT&T has acquired TV rights for the Thanksgiving weekend match between golf rivals Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. It’s the first high profile rights deal for AT&T since its acquisition of Time Warner (now known as WarnerMedia) closed in June.
AT&T will offer the head-to-head match as a pay-per-view event across its two pay TV services DirecTV and U-verse, as well as on Time Warner-owned Turner Broadcasting’s new sports streaming service, B/R Live. Across its linear TV channels, HBO will offer pre-game coverage, while Turner’s TNT cable network will deliver post-game coverage. Turner’s Bleacher Report pay-per-view coverage and will cover game highlights and behind-the-scenes content. The event will also be made available as a PPV outside the U.S., through Turner International. No pricing has been announced yet for the event.
The event will highlight “the benefits of AT&T and WarnerMedia coming together,” according to Turner president David Levy. “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.”
The match could prove to be a big audience draw, for a number of reasons. For one, fan favorite Tiger Woods recently returned from retirement, and Mickelson has been a long-time rival of Woods. Second, the two will compete to take home an unusually large $9 million prize.
Golf matches have drawn large tune-ins, especially now that Woods has returned to the sport. CBS has reported that ratings for the PGA championship this year, in which Woods competed, were the highest the tournament has seen since 2009. The PGA’s final round on Aug. 12 saw ratings jump 69% from the previous year.
And back in 1999, ratings for a Monday night match between Woods and David Duval topped Yankees and Mets games airing that night.