ViacomCBS Takes Another Hit With Masters Golf Postponement

On the heels of the NCAA canceling the lucrative March Madness men’s and women’s national championship basketball tournaments due to the coronavirus, ViacomCBS took another fiscal hit with the postponement of the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga. CBS has broadcast the live event from the Augusta National Golf Club since 1956.

With major professional, college and high-school sports shutting down events to help thwart the spread of the virus, the PGA Tour had little choice but to cancel existing and pending events.

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“Ultimately, the health and well-being of everyone associated with these events and the citizens of the Augusta community led us to this decision,” Fred Ridley, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, said in a statement. “We hope this postponement puts us in the best position to safely host the Masters Tournament and our amateur events at some later date.”

The Masters, which was scheduled for April 9-12, is the fifth event on the PGA Tour schedule that will not be played in its current spot on the calendar, following the cancellation of the remainder of the Players Championship, Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, Florida, WGC-Dell Match Play Championship in Austin, Texas, and Valero Texas Open in San Antonio.

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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.

Discovery, PGA Tour Launching Golf OTT Video Service Outside the U.S.

Golf is getting the global over-the-top video treatment.

Discovery and the PGA Tour Oct. 22 announced the pending launch of “GolfTV, powered by the PGA Tour,” an OTT video platform bowing outside the United States on Jan. 1, 2019 – and supplanting existing streaming venture PGA Tour Live.

GolfTV, which will debut in Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia and Spain,will offer more than 2,000 hours of live action annually as well as extensive premium content on-demand.

Live coverage will include nearly 150 tournaments operating under the PGA Tour – including The Players Championship, the FedEx Cup Playoffs and the Presidents Cup.

Additional country service launches include Poland and South Korea in 2020; Belgium, China, Germany and South Africa (2021); Denmark, Finland, India, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom (2022) and France (2024).

“Our long-term goal is to create a must-have experience that truly enhances the way global fans watch, play and engage with the game every day,” Alex Kaplan, president and GM, Discovery Golf, said in a statement.

The launch of GolfTV is part of a 12-year alliance between Discovery and the PGA Tour, announced in June, that includes management of the PGA Tour’s international multi-platform rights, including linear TV.

The PGA Tour and NBC Sports Group in July announced a multi-year digital partnership making NBC Sports Gold, the network’s digital direct-to-consumer live streaming product, the domestic home of PGA Tour Live, the PGA’s subscription video service.


PGA Tour and NBC Sports Ink OTT Video Deal

The PGA Tour and NBC Sports Group July 31 announced a new multi-year digital partnership that makes NBC Sports Gold, the network’s digital direct-to-consumer live streaming product, the domestic home of PGA Tour Live, the PGA’s over-the-top subscription video service.

The partnership – which begins in 2019 – includes rights to all PGA Tour Live pre-weekend morning coverage from 28 events, starting with the CareerBuilder Challenge in January, featuring The Players in March, and running through the FedExCup Playoffs in August.

“Moving PGA Tour Live over to NBC Sports Gold represents the next evolution of our product,” Rick Anderson, chief media officer of the PGA Tour, said in a statement. “Not only will Golf Channel and NBC Sports be promoting PGA Tour Live to millions of television and digital viewers, but also, [OTT video service] will now be available on several new connected TV devices due to NBC Sports’ expanded platform distribution.”

Since launching in 2015, PGA Tour Live features exclusive coverage on Thursday and Friday mornings of morning marquee player groups. The platform also features real-time video highlights, complete round replays and tournament recap programming.

NBC Sports Gold bowed in 2016 as an over-the-top video service complementing NBC Sports’ broadcast and cable distribution. The service sells SVOD packages for the Tour de France, Premier League, Rugby World Cup, Boston Marathon, Pro Motocross and coming in 2019, IndyCar, among others.

PGA Tour Live will be available on desktop, Android and iOS Devices, Apple TV; and will expand to Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, and Roku next year.

In 2019, PGA Tour Live plans to stream more than 360 hours of subscription coverage, as well as hundreds of hours of free “featured holes” coverage, complementing televised coverage from 28 PGA TOUR events next year. PGA Tour Entertainment will continue to produce the live coverage


PGA Bows Ad-Supported Streaming Video Service

The PGA Tour has launched an ad-supported over-the-top video service on the Xumo platform featuring interviews, highlights, previews and select live tournament coverage.

The Xumo platform is available on Roku TVs and devices, in addition to LG, Hisense, Sharp, Zizio and Panasonic TVs.

“The PGA Tour channel on Xumo is our first distribution platform on Smart TVs,” Luis Goicouria, SVP of digital platforms and media strategy, PGA Tour, said in a statement.

Stefan Van Engen, SVP, content programming and acquisitions at Xumo, said the PGA channel helps the platform continue its “evolution” as a “free streaming” service.