SBD/April 15, 2013/Media

CBS Sees Masters Sunday Overnight Rating Jump 26% After Easter Finish Last Year

Adam Scott with his putt on 10 became the first Australian to win The Masters
CBS earned a 10.2 overnight Nielsen rating for the final round of The Masters, which saw Adam Scott win over Angel Cabrera on the second hole of a playoff. That figure is up 26% from an 8.1 overnight for Bubba Watson’s playoff win over Louis Oosthuizen last year, which aired on a traditionally lower-viewed Easter Sunday. Compared to ’11, when Charl Schwartzel won by two shots over Scott and Jason Day, this year’s final round is down 2% from a 10.4 overnight. Yesterday’s final round peaked at a 13.4 rating as play concluded from 7:00-7:30pm ET. On Saturday, CBS earned a 6.3 rating, up 24% from a 5.1 overnight last year (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

OVERNIGHT RATINGS TREND FOR CBS' SUNDAY MASTERS COVERAGE
YEAR
OVERNIGHT
WINNER
13*
10.2
Adam Scott
12*^
8.1
Bubba Watson
'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
     

CHART NOTES: * = Ended in playoff. ^ = Aired on Easter Sunday.

C'MON, AUSSIE: USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes CBS "pounding away that an Australian had never won the Masters seemed overwrought initially, but it turned out to be prescient." CBS' Nick Faldo said Scott "is now officially the wizard of Oz" following the winning putt. CBS analyst and Australia native Ian Baker-Finch said Scott had come from "Down Under to the top of the world" (USA TODAY, 4/15). SI.com's Richard Deitsch writes CBS Sports Coordinating Producer Lance Barrow and Dir Steve Milton "provided terrific pictures for viewers over the weekend." Among the best were Scott's final round "rain-swept birdie at No. 18, Scott watching from the scoring room as Angel Cabrera birdied at No. 18, and Cabrera tossing his putter in the air in disbelief when he missed a birdie putt on the second extra hole" (SI.com, 4/15).

STRAIGHT TO TIGER: The AP's Tim Reynolds noted CBS on Saturday "devoted the first 12 minutes of its broadcast from the Masters entirely" to Tiger Woods and the two-stroke penalty he was assessed for taking an illegal drop Friday. The story "dominated the early coverage, and CBS didn't mention another player" until 3:12pm when it showed the leaderboard for the first time. The broadcast "started with a live shot of Woods at the sixth hole and being applauded by the gallery." CBS then "displayed the ruling that cost Woods two strokes but allowed him to remain in the tournament." It broke down what his "three options were after his shot on the 15th hole on Friday ended up in the water, then aired a lengthy interview" by CBS' Jim Nantz with Masters Rules Committee Chair Fred Ridley. But once the net "got through the initial wave of Woods coverage, it was largely business-as-usual, with cameras trained on an array of players over roughly the next 35 minutes." Then CBS again "revisited the Woods matter," with Faldo -- a three-time Masters champion -- saying that the way Friday's events "transpired ultimately saved Woods." Later in the telecast, Faldo's "tone seemed more conciliatory." Faldo reiterated that in "his era, he thought most players -- when presented with a situation like the one Woods was in -- would either be disqualified or withdraw." But he "stopped short of calling again for that to happen" (AP, 4/13). In Tampa Bay, Tom Jones writes Nantz did an "okay job" interviewing Ridley. He asked if Woods was "getting special treatment and why Woods wasn't disqualified." But Ridley's explanations "were shady and incomplete." Nantz "needed to press him a little more." Jones writes of CBS' Bill Macatee, "How can you do an interview with Tiger Woods immediately after his Sunday round at the Masters, talk about how he played, how close he came to winning and how he felt about his game and not ask how the Saturday controversy affected his play for the rest of the tournament?" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 4/15).

FLIP FLOP
: USA TODAY's Hiestand noted Faldo on Golf Channel on Saturday morning said that Woods "should 'man up' and withdraw." But when the CBS broadcast began, Faldo "suggested that given 'the timeline' of the episode ... it seemed 'correct' that Woods be allowed to keep playing." Faldo, to be "helpful to casual fans who don't understand all the complicated rules, should have elaborated on why he changed his mind." Later in the broadcast he "addressed it again, but he focused on the decision by Masters officials and not whether Woods acted properly" (USATODAY.com, 4/13). GOLF DIGEST's Weinman & Myers gave Faldo a "bogey" for his remarks (GOLFDIGEST.com, 4/13).

TIME TO RISE & SHINE
: GOLF DIGEST's John Strege wrote Golf Channel on Saturday morning was "handed a winning trifecta ticket: Tiger, the Masters and controversy." Analyst Brandel Chamblee at the "outset of the show, even before the penalty was assessed, argued that Tiger should 'call this penalty on himself, to disqualify himself for signing an incorrect scorecard.'" Each member of a studio panel -- former PGAers Brad Faxon, Olin Browne and John Cook, the "latter a close friend of Woods -- also agreed with Chamblee." Strege noted dissent came from analyst Frank Nobilo, who "argued that the rules call for a two-stroke penalty." Strege wrote it was a "spirited analysis and debate on a complicated issue that in an odd way simply heightened intrigue for a tournament that needs no hype" (GOLFDIGEST.com, 4/13). The TAMPA BAY TIMES' Jones ESPN on Saturday morning was "faced with two major stories involving two of the most famous athletes on the planet at the same time" with Woods' penalty and Lakers G Kobe Bryant's torn Achilles' tendson. But ESPN "handled both stories well, bringing in its experts to add insightful commentary." ESPN's Scott Van Pelt did an "excellent job lobbing up provocative questions and theories to analysts Andy North and Curtis Strange" about the Woods ruling. It was a "solid job by ESPN on what was an unusually busy Saturday morning" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 4/15).

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL: ESPN finished with a 3.0 U.S. rating and 4.2 million viewers for second round coverage of The Masters, marking the highest-rated and most-viewed Friday for the event since it moved to ESPN and the fourth-largest audience to ever watch golf on cable. ESPN also had a two-day average of a 2.5 rating and 3.5 million viewers for its Masters coverage, flat in rating, but up 4% from 3.4 million viewers last year (Karp). GOLF DIGEST's Strege wrote a penalty for slow play assessed to 14-year-old golfer Tianlang Guan on Friday provided a "seamless segue from the end of the Golf Channel's 'Live from the Masters' show to the beginning of ESPN's telecast." Given seven hours to fill, Golf Channel "featured a couple of interesting interviews," one with Golf HOFer Raymond Floyd (GOLFDIGEST.com, 4/12).

DIGITAL GETDOWN
: ESPN's digital platforms logged an average minute audience of 33,924 people during the four rounds of The Masters, up 113% from last year, according to data from Adobe and Omniture. During ESPN's three days of coverage from Wednesday-Friday, ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app logged 16.8 million total live minutes, up 747% from last year (ESPN).
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