SBD/August 15, 2011/Media

CBS' PGA Championship Final Round Overnight Down 14% From Last Year

Bradley's PGA Championship win earns 4.3 overnight Nielsen rating
CBS earned a 4.3 overnight Nielsen rating for the final round of the PGA Championship yesterday from 2:00-8:00pm ET, which saw rookie Keegan Bradley defeat Jason Dufner in a playoff to capture his first major. The 4.3 overnight is down 14% from a 5.0 rating for last year's final round, which saw Martin Kaymer defeat Bubba Watson in a playoff. The overnight is also down 43% from a 7.5 rating in '09 for Y.E. Yang's win over Tiger Woods. CBS also saw ratings drop for coverage on Saturday, as the 2.6 overnight was down 16% from a 3.1 rating last year (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes the playoff "should help CBS' ratings because audience size usually peaks at the end of events and overtime of any kind extends that peak." However, it was "challenging TV golf: Having to sell casual golf fans, who drop by for golf's majors, on a leaderboard topped by relatively minor names" (USA TODAY, 8/15). In St. Petersburg, Rodney Page writes the CBS crew "kept up the drama, even without marquee players." It was "refreshing" to hear CBS' Nick Faldo "be critical at times, kind of like a poor man's Johnny Miller." It was another "professional performance from a group of announcers with hundreds of tournaments under their belts" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 8/15).

COMMERCIAL FLIGHT: GOLFWEEK.com's Martin Kaufmann examined the ratio of golf action to commercials during the third and fourth rounds, and wrote there is a "pattern that confirms the problems that I and others saw in the broadcasts." Kaufmann tracked 10 segments of live action beginning at 2:57pm ET yesterday, "right after the leaders teed off." During that time, CBS "showed 97 golf shots -- 44 drives or iron shots and 53 putts" -- as well as 60 commercials and 17 network promos. The "longest live-action segment on Sunday lasted 6:29; the shortest 2:22." There were 100 shots aired during a 70-minute block beginning at 4:07pm Saturday, along with 60 commercials and 17 promos. Meanwhile, the first 22 minutes of yesterday's coverage was "filled primarily with highlights packages." Kaufmann: "After Golf Channel's pre-game show and three hours of stage-setting on TNT, did we really need more reviews of what had already happened?" (GOLFWEEK.com, 8/14). YAHOO SPORTS' Jonathan Wall writes CBS "has been notorious for cutting away from the on-course action for a commercial break, but on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, they took the mountain of worthless commercials to a whole new level." Wall: "CBS didn't get the memo that showing a ... 5 to 3 ratio is the kind of thing that will not only turn off casual viewers, but even the most avid golf fans as well" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/15).

GENTLY DOWN THE STREAM: GOLFWEEK's Kaufmann Saturday wrote he "really liked some elements of Turner Sports' streaming version on PGA.com." The "hole flyover graphics are useful even if you're simultaneously watching on television." The streaming version also "highlights key moments on a timeline, a nice feature if you're aren't watching live and want to see a few key shots." However, the site's 360-degree camera "was too blurry to be of use" (GOLFWEEK.com, 8/13). The ST. PETE TIMES' Page writes one "interesting feature TNT debuted this year was called 'Billy's Course,'" in which analyst Billy Kratzert "inserts himself into historical moments from PGA Championships past" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 8/15). But YAHOO's Wall writes TNT "went too far by superimposing Kratzert into each moment." Wall: "I understand we live in a world  where technology is king, but there's no need to superimpose a guy into a famous moment. It looked forced, and just plain silly" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/15).

RECORDS FOR PGA.COM: PGA.com had nearly 56 million page views for Friday's second round, an increase of 7% over '10. The website also set a record with 2.2 million unique visitors, breaking the mark of 2.1 million unique visitors set during the first round Thursday. The opening round drew nearly 53 million page views, up 28% from last year (PGA).
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