(Reuters) - The $19.99 charge for the pay-per-view (PPV) exhibition between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson is likely bring in enough viewers to make the event financially viable, two sports marketing experts said.
Turner Sports announced on Thursday that viewers in the United States will be charged $19.99 to watch the 18-hole, $9 million “winner-take-all” showdown between Woods and Mickelson on Nov. 23, the day after Thanksgiving.
Bob Dorfman from Baker Street Advertising in San Francisco predicted the match could attract up to one million buys in the United States, but Neal Pilson, a former president of CBS sports who now heads Pilson Communications, thought the viewing figures are more likely to be around the half a million mark.
Dorfman said he would not pay more than $10 but told Reuters: “I think the under-$20 charge is borderline acceptable for curious golf fans on a slow Thanksgiving Friday.
“And given Tiger’s recent resurgence and the promise of numerous prop (side) bets, it could grab in the neighbourhood of 500,000 to one million takers.”
That figure would generate between $10-20 million dollars.
Pilson said he was a “little surprised” that the suggested PPV price of $19.99 was not higher.
“Considering the cost of PPV boxing, cage fighting and WWE, price seems reasonable considering the star power and the amount of programming being made available,” he told Reuters.
“The event should appeal to more than just the golf audience with its star power. But, I have no plans to watch.”
The figures being discussed do not factor in international viewership. The PPV price outside the U.S. has not been announced.
Billed as The Match: Tiger v Phil, the event will be played at exclusive Shadow Creek in Las Vegas.
The course will be closed to the general public.
The Turner Sports statement also outlined how the players could spice up the action by issuing side bets.
“For instance, Woods or Mickelson could raise the stakes by challenging the other to a long-drive, closest-to-the-pin or similar competition during a hole as they play their match, with money being donated to the winning golfer’s charity of choice,” the statement said.
Woods has won 14 major championships, trailing only Jack Nicklaus on the all-time list, while Mickelson has collected five majors.
Woods last month ended a five-year victory drought by winning the season-ending Tour Championship on the PGA Tour.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Pritha Sarkar