Higher-than-expected viewership of ‘The Match’ reportedly forces refunds

Viewer interest in “The Match” between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson far surpassed AT&T‘s expectations, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The $19.99 pay-per-view subscription fee was dropped due to technical glitches from the high volume of viewers. AT&T and other major pay-TV providers including Comcast, Dish and Charter Communications said they would refund or credit customers who paid to watch Friday’s golf showdown.

AT&T was entitled to have the subscription revenue generated by other pay-TV providers, but the company will not seek out the fees, people familiar with the matter told the Journal.

Initial estimates for viewers of “The Match” were only as high as 150,000, an official told the Journal. But about 750,000 people alone watched the contest just on the video service B/R live, part of the Bleacher Report’s digital platform. The total number of sign-ups and views, including those from other pay-TV providers, has not yet been released.

AT&T’s Turner Media President David Levy said B/R never had a problem streaming video, but its system to collect payment information did not have the capacity to collect so much credit card information, blocking people from purchasing the event, the Journal reported.

Despite the refunds, Levy told the Journal the event was successful, and bodes well for the future of pay-per-view, noting that every advertiser involved in “The Match” wants to come back.

Read the full Journal report here.

Disclosure: Comcast is parent of NBCUniversal and CNBC.

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