SBD/April 11, 2011/Media

CBS Earns 10.4 Overnight Rating For Its Final-Round Coverage Of The Masters

Final-round ratings for Schwartzel's win down from Mickelson's win last year

CBS earned a 10.4 overnight Nielsen rating for the final round of The Masters yesterday from 2:00-7:15pm ET, which saw Charl Schwartzel win his first major championship by two shots over Jason Day and Adam Scott. The 10.4 overnight is down 13.3% from a 12.0 rating for the final round last year, which saw Phil Mickelson win his third green jacket, but up 18.2% from Angel Cabrera's playoff win in '09. Yesterday's round peaked at a 12.6 rating from 6:30-7:00pm. This year's final round is also up slightly from a 10.3 overnight in '05, which was the last time Tiger Woods won the event, and marks the second-best final-round overnight since '01 (12.9 overnight). Saturday's coverage on the net averaged a 6.8 overnight, down 10.5% from a 7.6 rating last year, but the second-highest Masters Saturday overnight in nine years. CBSSports.com also saw 33% more online traffic for its "Masters Live" this year, according to data from Akamai. The growth this year was fueled by Sunday's coverage, which saw year-over-year traffic rise 112%. Time spent viewing "Masters Live" this year was also at 72 minutes per person.

OVERNIGHT NIELSEN RATINGS TREND
FOR FINAL ROUND OF THE MASTERS ON CBS
YEAR
OVERNIGHT
WINNER
'11
10.4
Charl Schwartzel
'10
12.0
Phil Mickelson
'09
8.8
Angel Cabrera
'08
8.9
Trevor Immelman
'07
9.1
Zach Johnson
'06
9.0
Phil Mickelson
'05
10.3
Tiger Woods
'04
7.3
Phil Mickelson
'03
9.3
Mike Weir
'02
9.9
Tiger Woods



EARLY ROUNDS: ESPN averaged a 2.2 U.S. rating and 3.025 million viewers for its coverage of the early rounds of The Masters this year, down 29% and 32%, respectively, from a a 3.1 rating and 4.433 million viewers last year, which featured Tiger Woods' return to competitive golf. ESPN averaged 3.5 million viewers for Friday's telecast of The Masters from 3:00-7:30pm, down 10.5% from 3.9 million viewers last year. Thursday's coverage averaged 2.6 million viewers, down 48.3% from 4.9 million viewers last year. In the four years that ESPN has now televised the early rounds of The Masters, the net's two-day ratings average has been higher than each of the four prior years ('04-07) on USA Network (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

STARS ALIGN: USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes "everything broke CBS' way almost from the time it went on air Sunday and the leaderboard theatrically tightened." CBS faced the issue of getting "plenty of airtime for golf's biggest name without seeming like it was being gratuitous in focusing too much on Tiger Woods," but Woods "quickly played his way into becoming a legitimate focus for lavish coverage." CBS "didn't need much star power given Sunday's many spectacular shots." And the network "having to switch from shot to shot to keep track of the many contenders, which producer Lance Barrow did masterfully, had an unseen side benefit." Hiestand: "Mercifully, it left no time for CBS to be distracted and, say, start paying tributes to Augusta's azaleas." Meanwhile, third-round leader Rory McIlroy's "epic slide Sunday also created a glitch in CBS' coverage." Viewers "were left guessing what happened to his tee shot on the 10th hole to leave it sitting between two cabins," as CBS "didn't make McIlroy's chaotic ride to a triple-bogey on that hole ... very easy to follow" (USA TODAY, 4/11). In Denver, Dusty Saunders writes CBS announcers Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo and the CBS Sports research department "performed well in providing needed background information on relatively unknown golfers, including surprising champion Charl Schwartzel" (DENVER POST, 4/11).

ALL TIGER, ALL THE TIME: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes The Masters "used to be televised by CBS as one of golf's majors, as special ... until Tiger Woods." Mushnick: "Follow the leaders, show a few shots from old and recent champs, but no one's bigger than the Masters or the game. ... Saturday, the Masters became just another tournament in which Tiger Woods, plus some other guys, played." Mushnick notes the "most live video, Saturday, was devoted to Woods," the "most taped video was devoted to Woods" and the "most talk was devoted to Woods." Mushnick: "We didn't see wonder kid Rory McIlroy, who was seven shots ahead of Woods going into the final round, lining up putts. But we saw Woods slowly line up putt after putt, often from both sides of the hole -- a colossal, aggravating waste of time for those who tuned to the Masters to watch the Masters" (N.Y. POST, 4/11). In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones writes, "How obnoxious was it to hear CBS's Masters team making excuses for Tiger Woods when he three-putted to bogey No. 12? The announcers actually tried to pin the blame on Woods' playing partner, Martin Laird, because Woods had to wait while Laird three-putted." The "only thing more obnoxious was listening to Woods give one-sentence answers to the questions he was asked by CBS's Bill Macatee after his round Sunday" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 4/11).

Woods' short post-round interview on
Sunday did not help repair his image
NOT MUCH TO SAY: GOLF WORLD MONDAY’s Geoff Shackelford writes after his final-round 67 that “answered critics in resounding fashion, Woods wiped out any good vibes with clipped answers and a smug detachment” during the post-round interview with Macatee. The interview “contrasted starkly with the gracious post-round interviews” with Geoff Ogilvy, Luke Donald, Jason Day, Adam Scott and McIlroy. Woods in an “intense guy,” but so are the “rest of the men trying to win the Masters, and they manage to be civil -- engaging, even -- when talking to TV interviewers after their rounds” (GOLF WORLD MONDAY, 4/11 issue).

KEEP IT POSITIVE: In Houston, David Barron wrote of CBS' coverage yesterday, "The nature of the Masters broadcast is unusually upbeat about every golfer's performance. I don't know if they lean more toward encouraging words because it's the Masters, but you don't hear the sharp criticism that you generally hear on other golf broadcasts on other networks. If NBC had been doing this event, for example, I can guarantee you that Johnny Miller would have said that Rory McIlroy choked. Instead, we had Peter Kostis giving him a pep talk in his post-match interview and the announcers bemoaning his lack of experience and the tough place in which he found himself Sunday and how he'll surely bounce back and be better for the experience." Barron wrote he "enjoyed" CBS announcer Verne Lundquist's coverage at the 16th hole, and he also enjoyed "listening to Nick Faldo talk about the day's developments" (CHRON.com, 4/10). The ST. PETE TIMES' Jones writes, "It's almost as if everything about CBS's coverage is to convince you that what you're watching is really good instead of just letting the viewer watch and then judge for himself. Too many times Sunday, we heard phrases such as, 'What a day this is.' ... Give me NBC's golf coverage any day over CBS" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 4/11).

REPORTER DENIED ACCESS: On Long Island, Mark Herrmann reports Bergen Record columnist Tara Sullivan yesterday was "denied access to the players' locker room after the final round of the Masters, having been told by a female security guard that women are not allowed in." Augusta National Dir of Communications Steve Ethun later "apologized to Sullivan and told reporters that it had been a mistake by a security guard contracted" by Augusta National. The locker room is "open to credentialed journalists" (NEWSDAY, 4/11). Sullivan offers her side of the story, writing, "After tweeting about my unfortunate interview experience at Augusta National golf course ... my journalism world exploded." Sullivan added, "I decided to write my main column on McIlroy's stunning collapse on Masters Sunday, so as he made his way out of the scorer's hut on the 18th green, I joined the group of reporters waiting to interview him in a roped off area. ... I followed McIlroy to the famous oak tree outside the clubhouse, a spot where golfers often stop to do more interviews. McIlroy kept walking, and so did the group of reporters I was with. We walked into the clubhouse and followed as McIlroy made his way to the locker room. At the final portion of the hallway, the one that ended at the locker room door, I was told by a female security officer that I was not allowed in. That was it. ... I asked the security woman again why they had such a policy, and she told me it was because there was an open bathroom area in the locker room" (Bergen RECORD, 4/11).

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