SBD/August 16, 2011/Media

PGA Championship Sunday Audience Down, But Overrun Gives CBS Primetime Win

CBS earned a 4.1 fast-national Nielsen rating and drew 6.11 million viewers for its coverage of the final round of the PGA Championship on Sunday, which saw Keegan Bradley defeat Jason Dufner in a playoff. Those figures are down 5% and 6%, respectively, from a 4.3 rating and 6.51 million viewers for Martin Kaymer's playoff win over Bubba Watson last year. This year's final round peaked at a 6.0 rating and 9.44 million viewers from 7:30-8:00pm ET. Cleveland-Akron and Greensboro-High Point-Winston-Salem topped all U.S. markets with a 6.4 local rating, followed by Greenville-Spartanburg (6.3), Las Vegas (6.2) and West Palm Beach (6.2) (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). DAILY VARIETY's Rick Kissell notes CBS "cruised to a primetime ratings victory Sunday, as a golf overrun led to higher-than-usual ratings" (VARIETY.com, 8/15).

PGA CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL ROUND RATINGS TREND
ON CBS DURING TIGER WOODS ERA
YEAR
NETWORK
SUNDAY
TIGER
'11
CBS
4.1
T116
'10
CBS
4.3
T28
'09
CBS
6.6
2
'08
CBS
2.8
DNP
'07
CBS
6.2
1
'06
CBS
7.0
1
'05*
CBS
5.6
T4
'04
CBS
4.4
T24
'03
CBS
4.5
T39
'02
CBS
7.5
2
'01
CBS
6.3
T29
'00
CBS
8.8
1
'99
CBS
6.9
1
'98
CBS
5.7
T10
'97
CBS
5.5
T30
NOTES: The '04 and '08 PGA Championships were up against the opening weekends of the Athens and Beijing Olympics, respectively. * = The final round of the '05 tournament was suspended at 6:30pm due to inclement weather and concluded on Monday morning.
 
NEW REALITY: In DC, Tracee Hamilton writes neither Bradley nor Dufner "are stars, and Tour (and USGA) officials and TV officials alike know that the casual viewer will flip to golf, see a leader board with no star power -- and keep flipping." And they "need the casual viewer." The "past 13 major championships have provided 13 different winners, and that’s a double-edged sword." It means there are a "lot of good golfers around the world capable of having big weekends." But it also means that the sport "isn’t producing a marquee name to replace" Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. The "one bright spot for the U.S. television networks: Bradley is an American." He "ended a run of six straight major champions from outside the United States, which had been unprecedented in golf" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/16). On Long Island, Neil Best wrote it "finally is time for golf and those who televise it to accept this as the new normal and stop counting on [Woods] to save them." Best: "How much longer will the viewing public's morbid curiosity last during Woods' free fall? Not much" (NEWSDAY.com, 8/15).

GOOD TIMING: In Boston, Brendan Lynch reports Putnam Investments "had sponsorship money riding" on Bradley for "only three months" when he won the tournament Sunday in a playoff over Jason Dufner. Putnam Head of Global Marketing Jeff Carney said, "When it's in the broadcast like that, that's exactly what we're looking for. We want to be in the action. The deal is significantly exceeding expectations on what we forecasted when we made the investment." Lynch notes Bradley "appears at golf clinics for Putnam customers and executives," and he serves as a brand ambassador (BOSTON HERALD, 8/16).
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