SBD/Issue 111/Sports Media

Tiger's Return Could Be Golf Channel's Highest Rating In History

Woods' Opening-Round Win Yesterday Could
Be Highest Rating Ever For Golf Channel
Based on Golf Channel’s preliminary projections, spokesperson Dan Higgins said the cable rating for yesterday’s coverage of Tiger Woods’ return to the PGA Tour at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship will be the network’s “highest-ever first-round PGA Tour coverage and probably the highest rating ever on the network.” Golf Channel’s standing ratings record is a combined 2.0 cable rating for Friday coverage of last year's Match Play event, which also prominently featured Woods. It earned a 1.4 cable rating in the afternoon (1.2 million viewers), and a 0.6 rating (567,000 viewers) for the primetime replay. Meanwhile, GolfChannel.com set record highs in page views and visits yesterday. The site recorded 3.3 million page views yesterday, up from 2.9 million page views during the second round of the '08 Buick Invitational, Woods’ first event that year. The Web site drew about 468,000 visits yesterday, up from a previous high of 346,000 for the Woods-Rocco Mediate Monday playoff during the '08 U.S. Open (Jon Show, SportsBusiness Journal). In S.F., Scott Ostler writes Woods' opening-round win was a "relief for the Golf Channel and ESPN, which are treating Woods' return with much fanfare and frothing-at-the-mouth." Both networks yesterday "had a countdown clock" to Woods' tee time. Golf Channel "didn't try to sugar-coat the difficulty" golfer Brendan Jones, Woods' opponent, was facing, as announcer Kelly Tilghman said Jones "no doubt is trembling" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 2/26). Golf Channel from 2:00-3:00pm ET, the first hour of live coverage at the event, devoted 30:37 to Woods-related discussion and match coverage, 20:02 to the rest of the field and 9:21 to commercials and network promos (THE DAILY).

COUNTING ON A MIRACLE? ESPN’s Mike Greenberg said, "That sound you hear in the air is the group prayer being said at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan. All the NBC suits begging, ‘Please, Tiger, make it to the weekend.’” Greenberg: "This guy is so overwhelmingly the number one guy in sports in the way of moving the needle. There’s nobody even close” ("Mike & Mike," ESPN2, 2/26).

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