Darren Rovell first broke the news on Twitter after most potential online buyers of The Match’s $19.99 stream could not even reach the point of giving BR Live and AT&T their money. His ESPN.com story explaining what caused the backers to throw in the towel and give away the stream.
Anyone on Twitter heard immediate reports of viewers unable to even get a purchase going, while others mentioned getting The Match free without ever paying. Which, it turns out, was around the time executives huddled somewhere and uh, cut the pay cord.
Given the number of sports organizations and media tycoons taking The Match’s pay-per-view streaming temperature, the failure could rank with the great debacles in sports television history. Then again, maybe many weren’t paying and the decision was easy.
Who will be hurt most by losing paid streamers we won’t know since AT&T, Turner and its various affiliated brands were making a grand synergy play here.
Did Tiger and Phil receive a cut of the paid subscriptions?
We also won’t know that unless one of the parties publicly complains. Or sues.
The culprit behind the technology failure is also not known, though SBJ’s Austin Karp noted Turner’s $200 million purchase of iStreamplanet as a possible source to consider.
As for those who did pay—myself included—the experience via a cable pay-per-view pass was excellent until non-AT&T-owned outlets ended the stream before the trophy ceremony where Phil Mickelson was unable to get the winner’s belt around his waist.