SBD/March 1, 2011/Media

Right Down The Fairway: PGA Tour Ratings Up Big For West Coast Swing

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PGA Tour weekend telecasts are averaging a 2.0 final Nielsen rating on CBS and NBC through five tournaments, up 42.9% from a 1.4 rating for four CBS tournaments at the same time period last year, which saw many weekend telecasts up against the Vancouver Games. The WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship on NBC this past weekend averaged a 1.7 rating and 2.5 million viewers for Luke Donald's victory over Martin Kaymer. This year's figures are the best for the tournament since NBC's broadcast in '08, which saw Tiger Woods win the event over Stewart Cink. NBC's viewership was also up 71% for the weekend from CBS' coverage last year. Golf Channel is seeing PGA Tour viewership up 59% to start the season (live telecasts + replay telecasts). The net's coverage of the Match Play Championship also led Golf Channel to its second most-viewed February in the net's history (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). In San Diego, Tod Leonard writes this season's PGA Tour ratings are "reflective of a brighter television outlook for all of the West Coast Swing." PGA Tour Exec VP/Communications & Int'l Affairs Ty Votaw said that the Tour and its sponsors are "encouraged by the amount of time viewers are staying with broadcasts," which is "about 100 minutes this season" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 3/1).

SPREADING ITS WINGS: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick noted with Comcast's acquisition of NBC Universal complete, it "didn't take long for NBC to invade then overrun Comcast-owned Golf Channel." Mushnick: "From Johnny Miller to Al Michaels, everything on the network has quickly been marinated in NBC." He added, "How long before CBS, which has a preexisting deal to co-produce the early rounds of its PGA events on GC, begins to fight NBC's pervasive GC presence on CBS's time? And how long before the Versus network, also owned by Comcast, is renamed and re-programmed to become the NBC Sports Network?" (N.Y. POST, 2/27).
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