Golf’s much-hyped first-ever ($19.99) pay-per-view contest, featuring Tiger Woods taking on Phil Mickelson in “The Match” on Black Friday in Las Vegas, saw the $9 million winner-take-all contest streamed for free online following technical issues.
A glitch with the purchasing software forced Turner executives at the last minute to stream the 22-hole match for free on The Bleacher Report Live – the online sports website’s nascent over-the-top video platform.
“We experienced a technical issue on Bleacher Report Live that impacted user access to ‘The Match,’” spokesperson Nate Smeltz told the site – which is owned by WarnerMedia. “We took a number of steps to resolve the matter with our main priority being to deliver the content to those who purchased the event.”
Indeed, the snafu didn’t affect consumers who purchased the match through their pay-TV operator – or The Bleacher Report – from watching Mickelson sink a four-foot birdie putt to defeat Woods.
Comcast Cable, in a statement, said it would refund Xfinity TV subscribers who paid to watch the event.
“We hope Turner and Bleacher Report will do the same given that the event was made available by them for free on [the latter’s] website,” said Comcast.
Interestingly, Turner on Nov. 24 said it would offer refunds to anyone who paid to stream the match on Bleacher Report. Whether that applies to pay-TV users who paid to stream the event through their operator’s OTT platform remains to be seen.
In a move that could elevate OTT video in live sports, DAZN, the nascent London-based fight streaming platform, has signed Mexican boxing champion Canelo Álvarez to a 11-fight, $365 million fight deal – reportedly the richest athlete contract in history.
In addition to the size of the contract, which runs through 2023, the deal transfers boxing’s biggest draw from the lucrative pay-per-view market to a $9.99 monthly streaming service.
Indeed, Álvarez, the current WBA and WBC middleweight champion, most-recently defeated Gennady Golovkin in a rematch that generated more than $94 million in pay-per-view revenue – based on a $84.95 PPV price tag. The fight generated 1.1 million PPV transactions.
“Canelo is the highest-paid athlete in the world,” Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions, told ESPN. “He’s extremely happy.”
The deal comes as HBO recently announced it would cease live boxing broadcasts after 35 years.
Álvarez’ first fight under the DAZN deal is against Rocky Fielding on Dec. 15 in Madison Square Garden.
Vubiquity, a provider of content services and media technology solutions, has inked a deal with Verizon to provide the processing and packaging of Verizon’s video on-demand and pay-per-view portfolio across the Fios multiscreen platform.
Vubiquity is owned by Amdocs.
The deal continues to include a content licensing component, which is an extension of the prior relationship, according to an Amdocs press release.
“Verizon remains vigorously focused on making content personal with video that can go anywhere to meet the demands of even the most discerning customers,” said Heather McDavitt, VP of Verizon Fios Consumer Products.
“We are pleased to expand our partnership with Verizon as they continue to innovate for consumers across the complex and transformative media landscape,” said Darcy Antonellis, head of the Amdocs Media Division, in a statement.
As the bridge to more than 630 content owners, Vubiquity will be supplementing Verizon’s expansive collection of assets across existing and future formats, including but not limited to 4K and high dynamic range, for a variety of business models, including TV on-demand, rental, PPV and electronic sellthrough, according to the release.
“This will allow Verizon’s customers to watch a robust selection of films and TV shows from major blockbusters to smaller independent films, as well as television series and digital assets from more than 100 media brands on any device,” according to the release.