Comcast, other cable companies to refund customers after ‘The Match’ streamed for free


Comcast is among the major carriers who vowed to issue refunds to customers who shelled out $20 to watch “The Match,” a pay-per-view golf event that was plagued by glitches on Friday. 

An issue with the interface for B/R Live — the Turner Sports property that produced the $9 million winner-take-all golf event — began before Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods teed off. As a result, “The Match” was made available to anyone who could stream the event won by Mickelson in 22 holes. 

“Comcast will proactively issue a $19.99 credit to any Xfinity TV customer who purchased ‘The Match’ pay-per-view event,” the statement read. “We hope Turner and Bleacher Report will do the same given that the event was made available by them for free on The Bleacher Report website.”

On Saturday, Charter Spectrum and Cox Communications said in statements to USA TODAY Sports they would do the same. AT&T, which operates DirecTV, did not respond to multiple messages seeking comment.  

“We are issuing proactive credits to anyone who paid for The Match through Cox,” Cox Communications said in its statement. “Since Turner streamed the event for free to a broader audience at the last minute due to technical issues we are happy to make it right for those who already paid.”

B/R Live, in a statement to USA TODAY Sports, said “technical issues” affected access.

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The statement read: “We experienced some technical issues on B/R Live that temporarily impacted user access to ‘The Match.’ We took a number of steps to resolve the matter, with our main priority being the delivery of content to those that purchased the PPV event.”

Turner Sports, the parent company of B/R Live, has not said whether it plans to to refund those who purchased “The Match” via the via B/R Live apps on various streaming platforms such as Apple TV, Google Chromecast and Roku, and through the B/R Live website.

Nicholas Masafumi Watanabe, a sport and entertainment management professor at the University of South Carolina, told USA TODAY Sports that The Match would have needed about 700,000 buys to break even. That number likely took a hit due to the technical issues. 

“I think that these media companies have to realize there is a risk in holding PPV events,” Watanabe said. “If there is not enough investment into infrastructure and bandwidth needed to stream these events, there is the possibility that consumers may be less-inclined to purchase PPV in the future.”

Turner Sports is a new entry into the pay-per-view game, although other prominent players in the segment have suffered similar issues.

UFC and the streaming partner it has since purchased, NeuLion, faced a class-action lawsuit after fans who purchased the $100 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor boxing match were unable to watch the fight. That lawsuit was settled earlier this year, and it allowed up to a full refund to those who signed on to be part of the class action. 

DAZN, a streaming service led by former ESPN president John Skipper, had trouble streaming NFL games in Canada and professional soccer in Japan, Watanabe said. It launched in the U.S. earlier this year with eyes on challenging Showtime PPV and HBO PPV in boxing, and it has secured many international streaming rights. 

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