Fans will pay for Woods-Mickelson showdown: experts

LOS ANGELES • The US$19.99 (S$27.66) charge for the pay-per-view (PPV) exhibition match between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson is likely to bring in enough viewers to make the event financially viable, two sports marketing experts said.

Turner Sports announced on Thursday that viewers in the United States will be charged $19.99 to watch the 18-hole, US$9 million "winner-takes-all" showdown between the pair on Nov 23, the day after Thanksgiving.

Bob Dorfman from Baker Street Advertising in San Francisco predicted the match could attract up to one million buys in the US, but Neal Pilson, a former president of CBS sports who now heads Pilson Communications, thought the viewing figures are more likely to be around the half-a-million mark.

Dorfman said he would not pay more than $10 but said: "I think the under-$20 charge is borderline acceptable for curious golf fans on a slow Thanksgiving Friday.

"And given Tiger's recent resurgence and the promise of numerous prop (side) bets, it could grab in the neighbourhood of 500,000 to one million takers."

That figure would generate between US$10 million and US$20 million.

Pilson said he was a "little surprised" that the suggested PPV price of $19.99 was not higher.

  • > 500k

    Industry estimates of the American viewing figures, with one million the upside.

He added: "Considering the cost of PPV boxing, cage fighting and WWE, the price seems reasonable considering the star power and the amount of programming being made available.

"The event should appeal to more than just the golf audience with its star power. But I have no plans to watch."

The figures being discussed do not factor in international viewership. The PPV price outside the US has not been announced.

Billed as The Match: Tiger v Phil, the event will be played at the exclusive Shadow Creek in Las Vegas. The course will be closed to the public. The Turner Sports statement also outlined how the players could spice up the action by issuing side bets.

"For instance, Woods or Mickelson could raise the stakes by challenging the other to a long drive, closest-to-the-pin or similar competition during a hole as they play their match, with money being donated to the winning golfer's charity of choice," the statement said.

Woods has won 14 Major championships, trailing only Jack Nicklaus (18) on the all-time list, while Mickelson has collected five.

Woods ended a five-year victory drought by winning the season-ending Tour Championship on the PGA Tour last month.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 27, 2018, with the headline 'Fans will pay for Woods-Mickelson showdown: experts'. Print Edition | Subscribe