Woods, Mickelson to Play Head-to-Head Thanksgiving Weekend

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Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will compete in a made-for-TV golf exhibition Thanksgiving weekend (no precise date has been set, though it’s expected to be Friday 11.23), live from Las Vegas. The longtime rivals will play 18 holes for $9 million (winner take all), just $3 million less than total purse at the ’18 U.S. Open. “The Match” will be a pay-per-view event accessible across several AT&T-Time Warner assets (think: B/R Live, DirecTV, U-verse). No information pertaining to pricing has been disclosed.

Howie Long-Short: AT&T Inc. (T) acquired the TV rights to the competition, so Warner Media’s Turner Sports will produce the event; HBO, TNT and B/R will provide shoulder programming. WarnerMedia was formed following AT&T’s $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner in June.

Speaking of which, T issued its first earnings report (Q2) with the Time Warner properties under its umbrella. The WarnerMedia division (former Time Warner assets) reported a +7% YoY revenue increase (to $7.8 billion), $1.1 billion of which was included in AT&T’s consolidated results; accounting for the 16 days between closing and the end of the quarter. The news wasn’t all positive though, cord cutting and the shift to internet video had AT&T’s Entertainment division (think: DirecTV) reporting a -8% YoY decline (to $11.7 billion). Q2 earnings rose 15% YoY (to $.91/share), but the mixed results had share prices falling -4.5% on the news; they’ve since recovered, closing at $32.49 on Thursday.

Fan Marino: I’m failing to see the appeal here and we don’t even have a price point yet. Those excited about the event will tout the opportunity to watch 2 all-time greats compete head-to-head, but this isn’t Sunday at Augusta. There’s nothing at stake except money and Woods and Mickelson aren’t exactly broke college students trying to pay off college loans; Woods has earned $113.5 million to date on tour, while Mickelson has cashed PGA Tour checks worth more than $87.5 million.

It’s also a particularly busy weekend on the sports calendar with Week 12 NFL games, college football rivalry games and college basketball’s pre-season tournaments. AT&T should be able to pull the country club crowd, assuming the event is priced like a single game on NBA League Pass ($6.99) and not a PPV fight ($49.99), but I’m doubting that the average sports fan is willing to pay for a golf themed TV show on day that includes Kyler Murray vs. Will Grier, the Apple Cup, the Civil War and a Top 5 CBB matchup between Kansas and Tennessee.

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Author: John Wall Street

At the intersection of sports & finance.

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