The network’s seventh iteration of the event from Florida -- which will also be simulcast on TBS, truTV and HLN -- pits pro golfers Woods and Rory McIlroy against Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth in a 12-hole exhibition event. The event marks Woods' return to The Match since appearing in 2020 and his first time since he suffered major leg injuries in a car crash in 2021. (opens in new tab) Woods also appeared in the inaugural The Match event in 2018.
Warner Bros. Discovery Sports US Executive VP and Chief Content Officer Craig Barry said Woods' return to The Match will help draw viewers to the telecast.
"People love to watch him and he hasn't swung the club in a while, so people are looking forward to him playing," he said.
Barry also said The Match's evening start time changes the dynamic of how the event is produced and viewed as the golfers will play under the lights for the first time. "There's a lot of access to the players during the event, so as the players are in the golf cart or when we’re talking to them on-air, we have to make sure that we can see them," he said. "Keeping them in the light is a really important part of the production process."
The Match event takes place during a busy television sports environment that includes the World Cup as well as the National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and college basketball games. Nevertheless, Barry is bullish on the appeal of The Match to sports fans.
"There's always concerns about competition, but we feel the move to primetime helps to differentiate it," he said. "Also the [golf] audience is different, so we're confident that we've positioned it from a programming standpoint where this event can stand out."
Proceeds generated from a number of golf challenges the competitors will participate in throughout the event will benefit Hurricane Ian relief efforts, according to the network.
TNT will launch the event with a 30-minute roundtable discussion with Woods, McIlroy, Thomas and Spieth led by The Match host Brian Anderson. The Capital One The Match Pre-Match Show will then lead into the live competition, according to TNT.■
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R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.
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