Discovery Inks Streaming Video Deal with PGA European Tour

Discovery and PGA European Tour Dec. 13 announced a new partnership that will see the media network’s pending subscription streaming video service, Golf TV, expand its portfolio and move towards becoming the “digital home of golf” around the world.

The wide-ranging agreement includes international multi-platform live rights, in selected territories, to all European Tour events and the next two Ryder Cups.

The partnership will bring coverage of the European Tour and Ryder Cup together under Golf TV, launching in January 2019. The SVOD will carry more than 40 European Tour events per year starting in January.

They include:

  • Every Race to Dubaievent throughout the season.
  • All Rolex Seriesevents, including the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, Aberdeen Standard investments Scottish Open, BMW PGA Championship, Italian Open, Turkish Airlines Open, Nedbank Golf Challenge and season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.
  • All World Golf Championshipsevents, including the Mexico Championship, the Dell Technologies Match Play, the FedEx St. Jude Invitational and HSBC Champions.
  • Golf Sixes and the Hero Challenge.
  • The European Challenge Tourand Staysure Tour.

“Welcoming the European Tour and The Ryder Cup into Golf TV is a significant step in our journey to becoming a premier global destination for golf entertainment,” Alex Kaplan, president and GM, Discovery Golf, said in a statement.

The service will stream live coverage of the next two Ryder Cups from Whistling Straits, Wisconsin, in 2020 and Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, Italy, in 2022 will be available to fans in selected territories.

Golf TV underscores Discovery’s strategy to evolve its brand internationally on the links.

Starting in January, Discovery will hold live European Tour linear and digital rights in markets, including Italy, Romania, Russia, Spain (sublicense agreed with Movistar+), Turkey, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Portugal, Balkan countries, Eurasia, India, Latin America, Indonesia, Thailand, and Singapore, among others.

Discovery will focus on developing key aspects of the European Tour digital operation, such as technology, monetization and advertising. The European Tour will continue to provide content and editorial services for the digital platforms, and service its existing news and media clients.

Under the agreement, Discovery will also have the ability to sublicense TV and digital coverage, in the markets for which it holds exclusive rights, as part of a broader strategy to grow viewership of the European Tour.

These markets include Albania, Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain (sublicense agreed with Movistar+), Turkey and Ukraine.

“To become the true ‘digital home of golf,’ we know we must think differently and go further than anything that has been done before,” said Kaplan.

Indeed, Golf TV last month inked an exclusive global content partnership with 14-time major champion Tiger Woods. The platform will collaborate with Woods on a wide range of content creation opportunities, including deep-dive instruction to help players improve their game, and exclusive access into Woods’ tournament preparation. The unique content will offer fans an authentic and regular look into the life, mind and performance of the game’s ultimate icon.

 

 

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.

Turner Streamed Woods, Mickelson Golf PPV Match for Free; Issuing Refunds

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.

 

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.