Discovery, which is building a GolfTV streaming service with the PGA Tour, said it signed a multi-year global content deal with Tiger Woods, winner of 14 major tournaments and still a huge ratings draw for the game.
GolfTV is set to start in January and it will work with Woods to create content that will offer a look into his life and practice routines exclusively for subscribers.
The deal follows Discovery’s recent strategy of making high profile moves with big events and big stars. It started a network with Oprah Winfrey, it grabbed the European rights to the Olympics, it is building a network with Chip and Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper and now is going into business with Tiger Woods.
Discovery is also heavying up its sports portfolio. While sports is expensive, it is seen as must-have programming that creates leverage with distributors at a time when traditional pay-TV is losing subscribers to cord cutting, skinny bundles and streaming video.
“With Tiger joining us, I am confident that GolfTV will be the new gold standard for comprehensive sports streaming, nourishing golf fans when and where they want to consume what they are most passionate about,” said Discovery CEO David Zaslav.
“At the heart of Discovery is high-quality storytelling, told through the most authentic, credible and trusted voices. Tiger is the ultimate example of a world-class athlete and cultural figure with whom audiences are enamored, and follow closely around the world,” Zaslav said. “Our global partnership with Tiger is a perfect example of our strategy to collaborate exclusively with top talent to extend global media platforms, and take advantage of our international distribution and technology infrastructure and aggregate audiences and build long-term value.”
Woods over the weekend lost a one-on-one pay-per-view match to rival Phil Mickelson. The match turned into a media fiasco when technical difficulties convinced AT&T’s Turner unit to let some viewers watch for free. Eventually everyone who paid for the event were offered refunds.
After some personal problems and injuries, Woods had a comeback season in 2018, nearly winning a couple of high-profile tournaments—and driving up golf ratings in the process.
“I’ve been watching Discovery and David Zaslav build up a global sports platform with Eurosport, the Olympics and the launch of GolfTV with us at the PGA Tour, so I think they’re the perfect partner to help grow the game. They’re global, they get sports and know how to build new, younger and big audiences,” said Woods.
“I love the vision of GolfTV and the ambition for it to become the premier destination for golf entertainment worldwide. To have my own platform to communicate is the culmination of a lot of hard work from my team and the team at Discovery,” he said. “I want to talk to golf fans and golfers everywhere, directly, and straight from me. That’s important to me. Talking about what we care about: what’s happening on the course, how to play better, how can I shoot lower scores tomorrow, how can I beat my friends? David explained how GolfTV is for the fans and the players, a single place they’ll all want to go, and he’s building something everyone will want.”
Woods and GolfTV are collaborating to develop weekly practice and instructional videos, exclusive access into Tiger’s preparation routines, behind-the-scenes access before and after PGA Tour rounds, and unique post-round commentary.
The content will be exclusively owned by GolfTV globally, including in the U.S., where Discovery has the opportunity to execute an owned or partner distribution strategy.
"Getting the chance to do instruction is exciting. I’ve always been focused on my own game and this experience can help players everywhere. Whether you’re a long-time player or a beginner, there are some things that help us all play better. It’s one way I want to give back to people who love the game like I do. If I can help the next generation enjoy the game more and play better, that’s pretty special,” Woods said
GolfTV powered by PGA Tour will present more than 2,000 hours of live action each year as well as other on-demand content featuring exciting moments, superstar players and tournaments on multiple screens and devices.
Live coverage of the PGA Tour will include The Players Championship, the FedExCup Playoffs and the Presidents Cup.
“It’s a privilege for us to welcome Tiger to the GolfTV team. No one else in the game resonates globally the way Tiger does or has the global fan base, and he has great wisdom to share, on and off the course,” said Alex Kaplan, president and general manager of Discovery Golf. “We’re thrilled to give him the global platform to do just that, and to provide our audience in more than 200 markets and territories a closer look at Tiger on the greens and behind the scenes.
“Our long-term partnership with Tiger reflects our broader ambition as we roll-out the service over the coming years, seeking to grow GolfTV into a true ecosystem for all things golf: watching, learning and playing,” Kaplan added.