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.