NBC Sports took the first shot at broadcasting live golf during the coronavirus pandemic with the TaylorMade Driving Relief charity event on May 17. The event drew 2.3 million viewers across the network’s linear and digital channels, including PGA Tour Live on NBC Sports Gold.
Now, it’s Turner Sports’ turn.
The WarnerMedia subsidiary will air The Match: Champions for Charity – featuring Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady – on May 24, live from Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Fla.
The exhibition marks the first live sporting event for Turner Sports since the NBA and UEFA Champions League suspended play in March. Turner Sports also owns distribution rights to MLB and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
“[This event has] really been months of preparation, and it’s touched every part of our organization,” Craig Barry, Turner Sports chief content officer, said. “Despite the pandemic, and everyone working remotely, we’ve all come together in support of the event. We have four of the most iconic athletes on the planet involved, and hope fans will be able to take a break and enjoy it.”
Champions for Charity, the second charity golf event for COVID-19 relief in as many weeks, will be broadcast on TNT, TBS, HLN, and truTV. Fans can also stream the match online and on TNT and TBS’s mobile apps.
Turner Sports first announced the exhibition on May 7. A lack of premium live sports during the coronavirus pandemic has helped to amplify market interest. Capital One is the presenting sponsor of the event.
“We’re completely sold out of sponsorships,” Barry said. “The TNT telecast and coverage across Bleacher Report and House of Highlights is nearly sold out as well, and we know that many of these advertisers and partners are using this event to try out new ways of engaging with fans.”
To produce the golf event, Turner Sports is limiting personnel to those essential to the broadcast. Most staff have also been hired locally.
“We’re working very closely with the tournament organizers and the PGA Tour, along with state and local government and public health officials, on all competition and production logistics to ensure the event follows safety and health protocols,” Barry said.
In addition to the $10 million devoted to coronavirus relief from stakeholders involved, VIP experiences that include putting lessons with Woods and golf rounds with Mickelson will be auctioned off as part of Fanatics’ All-In Challenge initiative.
Excel Sports and Lagardére Sports will serve as co-tournament directors. The companies represent Woods and Mickelson, respectively.