SBD/March 26, 2012/Media

Tiger Woods' First PGA Tour Win Since '09 More Than Doubles Ratings For Event

Tiger's win earns Arnold Palmer Invitational best Sunday finish in three years

NBC earned a 4.8 overnight Nielsen rating for the final round of the PGA Tour Arnold Palmer Invitational yesterday from 2:30-6:30pm ET, marking the event’s best Sunday finish in three years as Tiger Woods earned his first Tour victory since ’09. The previous high was a 4.9 overnight for Woods’ one-stroke victory in ’09. From 6:00-6:30pm yesterday, NBC earned a 6.8 rating as Woods was wrapping up his five-stroke victory over Graeme McDowell, while CBS averaged a 6.6 rating during the Kansas-North Carolina NCAA men’s regional final in the same window. On Saturday, NBC averaged a 2.9 overnight, marking the best third-round for the tournament in nine years. Golf Channel was also a beneficiary with early-round coverage, as Friday’s second round marked the event’s best early round audience since the net began coverage in ’96. Friday also marked Golf Channel’s best early round audience this season to date (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

PGA TOUR ARNOLD PALMER INVITATIONAL:
FINAL ROUND OVERNIGHT RATINGS TREND
YEAR
RAT.
WINNER
YEAR
RAT.
WINNER
'12
4.8
Tiger Woods
'04
3.3
Chad Campbell
'11
2.1
Martin Laird
'03
3.9
Tiger Woods
'10
1.6
Ernie Els
'02
5.7
Tiger Woods
'09
4.9
Tiger Woods
'01
5.4
Tiger Woods
'08
4.0
Tiger Woods
'00
5.3
Tiger Woods
'07
2.5
Vijay Singh
'99
4.4
Tim Herron
'06
2.6
Rod Pampling
'98
4.8
Ernie Els
'05
3.1
Kenny Perry
'97
4.3
Phil Mickelson
 
 

LACKING FORMER DEMAND: DAILY VARIETY's Stuart Levine wrote CBS Sports Chair Sean McManus "fully realizes that Woods is far from the dominant player he once was, and he is no longer a ratings magnet." That was "taken into consideration" when CBS last year extended its deal with the PGA Tour through '21. McManus said, "In the most recent PGA tour deal we did, we did not assume that Tiger was going to be as dominant as he has been in the past. We did a very conservative projection on ratings. If Tiger finds his groove and plays a number of PGA tour events, that's all upside for us, but when you look at Rory McIlroy or Luke Donald, and put Phil Mickelson in that group, there is still an awful lot of really appealing golfers" on the PGA Tour (VARIETY.com, 3/25).

THREE-WEEK INFOMERCIAL? In DC, Tracee Hamilton asked, "Does it ever seem like CBS uses the NCAA tournament as a three-week infomercial to promote The Masters?" While CBS "pays a boatload of money to the NCAA for the privilege of broadcasting March/April Madness," it also "pays a boatload of money to a private golf club for the privilege of denting the sacred blades of grass that grace the fairways of Augusta National Golf Club each April." The trouble is, CBS is "less an outsider looking in and telling a story and more a lackey propagating the idea that Augusta is the Valhalla of the sporting world and that we should be watching, not from our recliners, but on bended knee." Hamilton: "It’s sickening. It won’t keep me from watching, but still, it’s sickening." While ESPN, which has the first two days of live coverage, is "not guilt-free in the arrangement," the net has "not been doing this long enough to have the fawning down to a science" (WASHINGTON POST, 3/24).
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