See how many people watched Tiger vs. Phil (and how much the glitch cost Turner)

November 27, 2018

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson’s showdown at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas has certainly ignited a lot of interest and debate over the past week. But how many people actually watched the Tiger vs. Phil match? For the first time, we’re getting a glimpse at viewership numbers.

Turner confirmed that the much-hyped event drew 750,000 unique views and 55 million minutes consumed through the B/R Live stream. Those figures do not include viewers who watched The Match through their cable provider, which could turn out to be a considerable amount.

“We don’t have all the facts and figures, but based on early indications, total audience for The Match surpassed expectations across all of our platforms,” Turner President Dan Levy told Sports Business Journal, adding, “We are in this for the long haul.”

Phil Mickelson tees off during The Match as Tiger Woods looks on.
Phil Mickelson tees off during The Match as Tiger Woods looks on.

As for the much-talked about glitch that forced Turner to offer the stream for free, it cost Turner in a big way, at least in terms of cash. The company estimates that the loss of $19.99 from each viewer translates to $10 million in lost revenue.

Levy blamed the costly technical issues on high server traffic due to Black Friday. “This all boils down to really insufficient memory, server capacity that was required, and the high volume of consumer access requests in a condensed amount of time,” Levy said in the report.

Given Turner’s long-term view of the franchise’s potential, they see the inaugural running of The Match as a success. Whether that is an honest accounting or PR spin is for you to decide.

Though the event ended up being offered for free, the initial pay-per-view plan likely kept viewership numbers down. For comparison, the final round of the 2018 Masters on CBS saw an average of 13 million viewers, with a peak of 16.836 million viewers from 6:15-6:30 p.m. ET.

We will get a better idea of the total audience for the event when we see final viewership numbers, which are expected to be released next week.