Turner Sports’ live coverage of The Match: Champions for Charity, the one-off golf match teaming Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady, delivered an average of 5.8 million viewers across TNT, TBS, truTV and HLN on Saturday afternoon. The network said it was most-watched golf telecast in the history of cable television.
In the metered markets, the high-profile event was the top program of the day across all of TV, per Nielsen Live + Same Day metered markets. It peaked with an average of 6.3 million viewers from 5:45-6 PM ET as Wood and Manning came away with the victory in the format, which pitted the top names in golf and two of the best NFL quarterbacks in history over 18 holes by themselves with no crowds at the Medalist Golf Club in Florida.
Turner parent WarnerMedia said today that the company and the golfers collectively raised $20 million to benefit COVID-19 relief.
The match teed off at 3 PM ET, with a pre-match show beginning an hour earlier on the Bleacher Report app. Bleacher Report’s social and digital platforms recorded 38 million video views for content leading up to and during the event.
The Turner commentator team included Charles Barkley, Trevor Immelman, host Brian Anderson and on-course reporters Amanda Balionis and Justin Thomas. Turner’s usual lead play-by-play announcer, NBA on TNT host Ernie Johnson, decided not to attend the match Saturday because of the risk of contracting COVID-19 and bringing it home to his 31-year-old son Michael, who has muscular dystrophy and has been on a ventilator for the past nine years.
Johnson, who called the original The Match event in 2018 pitting Woods and Mickelson (Mickelson won that PPV event), narrated a video essay yesterday explaining his decision not to attend, and offered some poignant words about his and the world’s plight.