Samsung TV Plus Adds Sports-Themed FAST Channels

Samsung TV Plus has unveiled a new lineup of premium sports, music, family and entertainment content on its free ad-supported streaming television platform. April 30 at the IAB NewFronts, Samsung announced a suite of major league channels that will deliver live sports from Major League Baseball (MLB), The PGA Tour, the American Hockey League (AHL), and ONEChampionship (Mixed Martial Arts), along with Formula 1’s first FAST channel.

Samsung TV Plus and MLB are allowing viewers to stream a weekly game replay, minor league game replays, and game recaps, among other content exclusives to come later in the season.

The PGA Tour channel will deliver coverage on all things associated with the professional golf, with behind-the-scenes programming, documentaries, tournament recaps, highlights, and competitions, among other content.

Samsung TV Plus will be the first FAST platform to air live American Hockey League games through the Los Angeles Kings affiliate, the Ontario Reign.

The platform will also have Formula 1’s new FAST Channel at launch. The Formula 1 Channel enables fans of the sport to catch up on all the action from F1, F2, F3 and F1 Academy races throughout the season, including analysis, replays and documentaries.

The launch of ONE Championship TV will bring combat sports content to the service. Featuring unique live events to TV Plus, highlights, series and behind-the scenes access from the world’s largest martial arts organization.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Samsung reports FAST viewing on the platform has grown 60% in the past 12 months, reaching more than 630 million connected devices across 24 countries.

 

Netflix Streams First-Ever Live Sports Event Featuring F1 Drivers, PGA Tour Golfers

At precisely 3 p.m. PT on Nov. 14, Netflix began live streaming its first-ever sports event, The Netflix Cup golf tournament from the Wynn Las Vegas, the only 18-hole golf course located on the Vegas strip.

The two-and-a-half hour event was everything one might expect from industry disruptor Netflix crashing a normally hushed golf tournament: noise, chaos, odd celebrity pairings (Mark Wahlberg, Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams, NBA’s Blake Griffin and DJ Steve Aoki in person; Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes via Zoom), dropped mikes, jumbled camera shots, overhead drones, a steady stream of departing airplanes overhead from nearby Harry Reid International Airport, profanity and an exciting finish under the lights against the backdrop of the Sphere.

That’s right: Nighttime golf.

Winners Carlos Sainz, Justin Thomas lift the Netflix Cup.

 

Through it all, two-time PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas hit the ball closet to the cup on the final hole to help Spanish teammate, F1 driver Carlos Sainz, defeat French F1 driver Pierre Gasly and his teammate, PGA Tour pro Tony Finau (replacing last minute scratch Collin Morikawa), and hoist the inaugural Netflix Cup trophy, presented by smiling Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos.

In front an enthusiastic gallery (primarily there to see the PGA pros), two teams of four players featuring England’s F1 driver Lando Norris and PGA Tour pro Rickie Fowler teed off against Sainz and Thomas. The second match featured Thailand’s F1 driver Alex Albon and PGA Tour pro Max Homa vs. Gasly and Finau. The winners of each match met for a one-hole playoff.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

From the outset, the first hole was anything but ordinary, with each set of teams trying to drive the ball and complete the hole as fast as possible (in a nod to this weekend’s F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix and Netflix’s popular “F1: Drive to Survive” docuseries). The resulting free-for-all left event host Kay Adams confused as to what was happening, while sideline hosts, including former NFL RB Marshawn Lynch and comedian Bert Kreischer added to the craziness. In the end, no one playing knew who actually won the hole.

Things calmed down as PGA golfer and Netflix “Full Swing” star Joel Dahmen cooly explained how pro golfers approach their shots as the competition moved on. Thomas was especially good giving input to teammate Sainz. He was clearly there to win.

Indeed, Thomas won the long drive competition with a shot reaching 327 yards. But no one came close to winning a special $4.56 million hole-in-one shot on the fifth hole, which had to be hit behind the back of a giant “Squid Game” doll — and only when her oscillating head faced away from the golfer. Failure to do so would negate the shot.

The prize was in reference to Netflix’s upcoming “Squid Game: The Challenge” reality competition show that will award one winner $4.56 million in cash.

The real winner was Netflix, which proved it could bounce back from last year’s disastrous “Love is Blind” live reunion episode that failed to launch due to technical glitches, and stage a live sports event on par with Prime Video’s “Thursday Night Football,” and Major League Soccer on Apple TV+, which remain the only original live sports streaming on U.S. platforms.

Netflix to Stream First Live Sports Event, ‘The Netflix Cup’ Golf Tournament Ahead of F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix

Netflix on Nov. 14 is set to dip its toes in live sports streaming hosting “The Netflix Cup,” the streamer’s first-ever live sports event featuring athletes from two of its ongoing sports reality series: “Formula 1: Drive to Survive” and PGA Tour-themed “Full Swing”.

The drivers and golfers will pair up to compete in a match play tournament at Wynn Golf Club at Wynn Las Vegas, the only 18-hole, championship golf course on the Las Vegas Strip, ahead of the inaugural F1 Heineken Silver Las Vegas Grand Prix taking place on the Vegas strip. The Netflix Cup is set to stream live beginning at 3 p.m. PT / 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Nov. 14th. 

The Netflix Cup’s participants include Formula 1 drivers: Alex Albon (Williams Racing), Pierre Gasly (BWT Alpine F1 Team), Lando Norris (McLaren Racing), and Carlos Sainz (Scuderia Ferrari). PGA Tour Golfers include Rickie Fowler, Max Homa, Collin Morikawa and Justin Thomas. 

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The four pairs consisting of one F1 driver and one PGA Tour professional will play an eight-hole match with the top two teams advancing to the final hole, where they will battle for the chance to win the inaugural Netflix Cup title. 

Formula 1: Drive to Survive” is now in production on its sixth season continuing to popularize the sport in the US. “Full Swing,” one of 2023’s new series, is finishing filming on a second season and is credited with a rise in PGA Tour fan engagement, according to Netflix.

“We love to see how our sports series have brought increased fandom to sports leagues and competitions all over the world,” Gabe Spitzer, VP, nonfiction sports, Netflix, said in a statement. 

Emily Prazer, chief commercial officer of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, said Netflix’s F1 series contributed to the European-based auto racing circuit to add a third race in the U.S., after Miami and Austin, Texas. 

“It’s only fitting that we kick off our inaugural race weekend with a fun event that can be streamed by F1 and PGA Tour fans around the globe,” Prazer said. 

The Netflix Cup, which is sanctioned by the PGA Tour and Formula 1, will be produced by Excel Sports Management, BZ Entertainment, and Full Day Productions (Connor Schell and David Chamberlin), the company behind the ESPY Awards, the Oscars Red Carpet Show and the NFL Honors. 

Netflix, which heretofore has eschewed pursuing live sports content due their associated costs, has been no stranger to focusing on sports as theme for its docuseries, including “Untold,” “Quarterback,” cycling-based “Tour de France: Unchained,” tennis-based “Break Point,” and upcoming series following athletes in track and field, soccer, rugby and NASCAR

That said, the streamer’s last attempt at live programming, the Season 4 reunion special of reality dating show, “Love is Blind,” failed notably when the show wouldn’t load on viewers’ app-based servers.

Report: Netflix Eyeing Live-Streaming Las Vegas Celebrity Golf Event in Support of Sports Reality Series

Despite a longtime aversion to live sports (due to license costs), Netflix reportedly is considering live-streaming a celebrity golf event in Las Vegas this fall that would include participants from its popular “Full Swing” and “Drive to Survive” series. The streamer also has the tennis-themed “Break Point” docuseries.

The Wall Street Journal, citing sources familiar with the situation, said live-streaming the golf event would enable Netflix to dip its toes in sports without paying the exorbitant upfront license fees associated with a major tournament.

On January’s fiscal webcast, co-CEO Ted Sarandos said the streamer wasn’t anti-sports, but rather pro-profit.

“We’ve not been able to figure out how to deliver profits in renting big league sports in our subscription model,” Sarandos said. “Not to say that, that won’t change. We’ll be open to it, but that’s where it’s at today.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Finances aside, Netflix has mixed results thus far in live streaming. A highly publicized live stand-up comedy performance with Chris Rock, for which the streamer reportedly paid the comic $20 million upfront, was followed by a disastrous “Love Is Blind” season four reunion show on April 16 that resulted in a 75-minute delay and an apology on social media.

“To everyone who stayed up late, woke up early, gave up their Sunday afternoon, we are incredibly sorry that the ‘Love Is Blind Live Reunion’ did not turn out as we had planned. We’re filming it now and we’ll have it on Netflix as soon as humanly possible. Again, thank you and sorry,” wrote the streamer.

Co-CEO Greg Peters later attributed the malfunction to technical glitches in the live-feed.

Controversial Saudi LIV Golf Tour Bows Streaming Service

LIV Golf, the upstart professional golf tour financially back by Saudi Arabia, has launched a branded streaming video app and website —  LIV Golf Plus and LIVGolfPlus.com — to access live and on-demand coverage of the 2023 LIV Golf League, which began play Feb. 24 at the league’s season-opening tournament LIV Golf Mayakoba in Mexico.

The app is available free to download across iOS, Android, Apple TV and Fire TV. LIV Golf League broadcasts will also be available on LIVGolfplus.com.

“In keeping with the content distribution strategy of other major sports leagues, the LIV Golf Plus streaming app allows more access to our content from more places for more people,” Will Staeger, LIV Golf chief media officer, said in a statement.

LIV Golf launched last year with PGA Tour stars Cam Smith, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Sergio Garcia, Rory Mcllroy, Jordan Spieth and Phil Mickelson, among others, defecting to the new league following eyebrow-raising, mega-million dollar incentives.

In the United States, the CW Network is broadcasting LIV Golf across all  markets as part of the network’s previously announced multiyear exclusive broadcast agreement. All 14 events will be delivered to more than 120 million U.S. households and streamed live to the CW App.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Broadcasts feature an on-air announce team that includes Arlo White, David Feherty, Jerry Foltz, Su-Ann Heng, Dom Boulet and Troy Mullins.

LIV’s coverage includes a shotgun start, a distinctive live leaderboard, enhanced drone coverage, statistics-driven graphics, and fast-paced coverage featuring nearly twice as many golf shots per hour than traditional golf coverage, according to the tour.

Video Game Publisher Take-Two Interactive Inks Long-Term Deal With Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods might not play golf for a while following his February car accident, but that doesn’t mean the sports icon can’t play virtually in video games.

2K, the publishing unit of Take-Two Interactive, March 16 announced an exclusive long-term partnership with Tiger Woodsone of the most celebrated figures in golf history. In addition, 2K announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire privately held HB Studios Multimedia Ltd., developers of the commercially successful PGA Tour 2K21, as well as ‘The Golf Club’ franchise. The acquisition is expected to close in the first calendar quarter of 2021, subject to customary closing conditions. Financial terms of both deals were not disclosed.

Woods’ resumé includes 15 major championship wins; 82 PGA Tour victories; 11-time PGA Tour Player of the Year; lowest career scoring average and tied for the most career wins in PGA Tour history, among many other accolades. He is recognized as one of the greatest golfers of all time and is heralded among the most prolific athletes in the sporting world.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Woods’ partnership includes rights for his name and likeness to appear exclusively in the PGA Tour 2K video game franchise, as well as any other golf games published by 2K during the partnership term. Woods will play an active role in the video game landscape as an executive director and consultant with ‘PGA Tour 2K,’ while 2K will also partner with Woods’ TGR Foundation, which provides STEM curricula and college-access programs to underserved students.

“In golf, there is no bigger icon than Tiger Woods. Like the rest of the world, we were saddened to hear of his recent accident, and we wish him a full and smooth recovery,” David Ismailer, president at 2K, said in a statement. “We have been eager to announce our partnership with Tiger, whose legendary career has transcended the sport. We are thrilled to have him join our ‘PGA Tour 2K’ series as an executive director.”

PGA Tour 2K21, a golf simulation game featuring PGA Tour professionals, courses, gear and apparel, has sold nearly two million units to date.

“Our work with 2K on PGA Tour 2K21 brought our capabilities and aspirations to the next level, and we can’t wait to show the world what we’re planning for the future,” said James Seaboyer, president and studio head at HB Studios.

 

PGA to Live-Stream The Players Championship for the First Time in 2020

The PGA Tour has been available via over-the-top video for a few years but largely relegated to highlight clips, previews and lesser known events.

Now the PGA, beginning in 2020, will for the first time live-stream the full field of a major tournament: The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

The video event will showcase more than 32,000 shots over 72 holes from a starting field of 144 – live – using nearly 120 cameras positioned throughout course, with each group of players having its own dedicated stream.

Live streams will be available through PGA Tour Live SVOD service, NBC Sports Gold or Amazon Prime Channels.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The PGA Tour and NBC Sports Group in 2018 announced a new multi-year digital partnership that made NBC Sports Gold the domestic home of PGA Tour Live.

“Our vision is to bring every shot in every PGA Tour golf tournament live and on-demand to our fans, and this is the first step to making that happen,” Rick Anderson, chief media officer for the PGA Tour, said in a statement.

PGA Tour Live Live expanded its coverage for the 2019-2020 season from seven events between September and December.

This includes, for the first time ever, live streaming from the Presidents Cup at The Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia taking place Dec. 12th – 15th.

All told, approximately 140 hours of additional live content is available, bringing more than 1,100 total hours to subscribers and extending live content across each month of the calendar year.

With NBC Sports Gold and Prime Channels available on dozens of connected devices such as Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, and Chromecast, PGA Tour OTT video consumption has spiked 33% in 2019.

“Super-serving golf fans with more comprehensive coverage of The Players is emblematic of our commitment to elevating this championship and builds upon our success in adding enhancements to PGA Tour Live on NBC Sports Gold,” said Mike McCarley, president, Golf, NBC Sports Group.

 

Tiger Woods, Discovery Partner for Golf TV Streaming Video Service

Fresh of the heels of golf’s first-ever pay-per-view match, Discovery and Tiger Woods have inked a “strategic partnership” that will have golf’s infamous legend participate with the network’s pending Golf TV subscription video-on-demand service.

Starting in January, “Golf TV powered by PGA Tour” will collaborate with Woods on a wide range of programming, content creation and storytelling opportunities that it claims will showcase an “authentic and regular look” into the life, mind and performance of the game’s “ultimate” icon.

“I’ve been watching Discovery and [CEO] David Zaslav build up a global sports platform with Eurosport, the Olympics and the launch of Golf TV … so I think they’re the perfect partner to help grow the game,” Woods said in a statement. “They’re global, they get sports and know how to build new, younger and big audiences.”

While Woods lost to Phil Mickelson on the Black Friday $9 million “The Match” PPV event in Las Vegas, his resume as an 80-time PGA Tour winner and 14-time Major champion apparently supplants a reputation that was turned upside down in 2009 following multiple allegations of marital infidelity, sexual addiction and a very public divorce.

The scandal saw Woods’ standing and performance on the links as the No. 1 golfer in the world freefall into oblivion. Woods appeared to resurrect his personal life with a high-profile romance with Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn – a relationship that ended in 2015 with pair blaming their “hectic lives” for the breakup. Last May, Woods was cited for DUI, an arrest the golfer attributed to prescription painkillers.

Regardless, Woods and Golf TV are collaborating to develop weekly practice and instructional videos, “exclusive” access into Woods’ preparation routines;behind-the-scenes access at PGA Tour events, and post-round commentary.

Golf TV, which is launching outside the United States, will present more than 2,000 hours of live action annually as well as a wide range of premium content on-demand, featuring tournament highlights across all devices. Live coverage of the PGA Tour will be extensive and include The Players Championship, the FedEx Cup Playoffs and the Presidents Cup.

“Our long-term partnership with Tiger reflects our broader ambition as we roll-out the service over the coming years, seeking to grow Golf TV into a true ecosystem for all things golf: watching, learning and playing,” said Alex Kaplan, GM, Discovery Golf.

Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson Ready for First-Ever PPV Golf Match

Move over boxing and mixed-martial arts fighting, golf superstars Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have upped their trash-talk and respective contributions to charities ahead of the Nov. 23 first-of-its-kind pay-per-view golf match over 18 holes at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas. The winner takes home $9 million.

With much of America dealing with the Black Friday retail event, golf fans (largely male) can pay $19.95 to watch the sport’s two biggest names without leaving the couch.

Capital One’s The Match: Tiger vs. Phil begins at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET. Woods and Mickelson will take to the course at noon PT/3 p.m. ET.

It will be available on DirecTV, AT&T U-verse, Comcast, Charter, Cox, Verizon and Altice (U.S.), Rogers, Shaw and Bell (Canada), Turner International (outside U.S. and Canada).

For Woods, the event is the culmination of 2017-18 season that has seen the sport’s former lone superstar rebound from No. 668 in the world rankings to No. 13 over the course of 18 events – including seven top-10 finishes and his first win in five years — at the Tour Championship in late September.

Mickelson, ranked 27th in the world, scored his first Tour win since 2013 at the WGC-Mexico Championship.

Both players and their respective caddies will wear microphones, and the broadcast will include real-time, hole-by-hole statistics to forecast certain outcomes during the match.

Being Las Vegas, MGM Resorts Race & Sports Books will offer real-time odds, money-lines and other information about the golfers’ performances.

The players can also make side challenges, such as who’ll be closest to the pin, whether one can make a putt from 10 feet away or the chances of getting up and down from a certain location on the course.

Money from side wagers will be donated to the winning golfer’s chosen charity.

Drone camera coverage will be provided, as will slow-motion cameras, golf animations and both real-time trajectories and flight paths for each shot.