SBD/March 7, 2011/Media

Golf Channel, NBC See PGA Tour Ratings Boosts In Wake Of Merger

"Golf Channel on NBC" branding will be featured on all 10 NBC PGA Tour events
NBC earned a 1.8 overnight Nielsen rating for the final round of the PGA Tour Honda Classic yesterday, which saw Rory Sabbatini hold off Y.E. Yang for the victory. That overnight is flat compared with the final round from the last two years. Saturday's coverage of the third round earned NBC a 1.5 overnight, up slightly from a 1.4 rating last year (THE DAILY). In N.Y., John Paul Newport noted that Golf Channel and NBC's PGA Tour ratings are up this season and execs "credit the uptick to cross-promotion." Golf Channel's combined ratings for live and replay coverage of  "mostly early-round PGA Tour coverage" are up 59%, and NBC's live ratings were up 71% for the WGC- Accenture Match Play Championship last month. Golf Channel is now called "Golf Channel Powered by NBC Sports." The net is a "kind of demonstration project, hinting at how the newly created sports juggernaut under" NBC Sports Group Chair Dick Ebersol "may aggressively cross-pollinate and colonize Comcast's other properties." New Golf Channel President Mike McCarley said that his "mandate was to incorporate more of the NBC 'sports sensibility' into Golf Channel's programming." McCarley: "There's a lot of nuance to it, a lot of storytelling. ... We want viewers on their couch to feel as if they're right there at the event, in the front row." McCarley also "wants to limit more commercial breaks to two minutes or less." He said, "We've got lots of ideas, but they're not yet ready to be released into the wild" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/5).

FAMILIAR COMPLAINT: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes viewers "could have watched an hour straight of NBC's Honda Classic PGA coverage yesterday and not known that it was on tape, that it was long over, that Rory Sabbatini was the winner." By the "time 'recorded earlier' finally and briefly appeared, Sabbatini could've been home asleep" (N.Y. POST, 3/7).
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Comcast, Golf Channel, NBC, Golf, Media

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