Kraft Nabisco Championship sees audience gains during first year on Golf Channel
Golf Channel averaged 511,000 viewers for the four rounds of the LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship last week, a 29% increase from 395,000 viewers last year when the event aired on CBS and ESPN2. Golf Channel aired 34 hours of coverage for the tour’s first major of the year, which American Stacy Lewis won by three strokes over top-ranked Yani Tseng. By comparison, CBS and ESPN2 in '10 only aired a combined nine hours of coverage. Thursday’s round averaged 453,000 viewers, making it the most-viewed opening round for the event in 18 years and the most-viewed opening round for any LPGA event -- including majors -- in three years. Friday’s coverage also marked the most-viewed second round for the tournament in 17 years. LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan said, “We were very pleased with Golf Channel’s interesting, extensive coverage of the Kraft Nabisco Championship, with added focus on highlighting both the performance and personalities on the LPGA Tour. Our numbers are trending up in 2011, and we feel Golf Channel’s commitment to showcasing the tour and players in a fresh light is directly responsible.” Audience figures for LPGA telecasts on Golf Channel are up 31% year-over-year. However, the tour will have to wait a while until it has a chance to continue its positive roll in '11 -- the next tournament on the schedule is not for another three weeks.