SBD/April 10, 2014/Media

CBS Confident In Its Masters Coverage Despite Likely Ratings Drop Without Woods

Woods has not won a green jacket since '05, but he usually is in the hunt on Sunday

Nobody "moves the needle in golf more than" Tiger Woods, and his absence from The Masters "could mean a ratings decline by as much as 20 percent depending on what happens Sunday," according to Ed Sherman of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. It is a "blow for the networks that they won't be able to ride" on Woods this week, although CBS publicly is "putting on a brave front." Avid golf fans will tune into The Masters, as it "always is the highest-rated golf tournament of the year." However, the network will "miss the ratings spike on the weekend that occurs when casual sports fans tune in to watch Woods." He has "produced the two largest final rounds ratings in Masters history." Even though Woods has not won a green jacket since '05, he "usually is in the hunt on Sunday, posting six top-four finishes in the last eight Masters." The potential number "would have been huge if Woods was on the verge of winning his first major" since '08 (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/9). In Akron, George Thomas noted even when Woods is "not in the hunt, he provides a bump depending on the situation, such as last year when Woods' alleged illegal drop in the second round caused controversy leading to higher third-round ratings" (OHIO.com, 4/8). In N.Y., Hank Gola writes ratings "obviously would spike if Woods was making a run," but that "doesn't mean they tank if he's not in contention" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/10).

WEEKEND AUDIENCE TREND FOR THE MASTERS ON CBS
YEAR
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
2-DAY AVG.
TIGER WOODS
'13
5.8
9.4
7.9
4t
'12*
5.0
8.0
6.8
40t
'11
6.5
9.5
8.2
4t
'10
6.7
10.7
9.0
4t
'09*
5.3
8.3
7.1
6t

CHART NOTE: * = Easter weekend.

PLENTY TO WATCH FOR: In Providence, Jim Donaldson wrote he could not believe ESPN in a poll on its website last week posed the question, "Will you still watch The Masters now that Tiger Woods has withdrawn?" Donaldson: "I don't know which result surprised me more -- that 18 percent of respondents said 'No,' they wouldn't watch if Tiger wasn't playing, or that 21 percent said they weren't going to watch it, anyway." Everyone who "appreciates watching the world's best golfers play on one of the world's greatest, most beautiful, most historic ... and most exciting courses will tune in, regardless of whether Tiger's teeing it up." Donaldson wrote, "Would The Masters be a better tournament -- a more interesting, intriguing, and entertaining tournament -- if Tiger were playing? Yes, absolutely. But does the fact he won't be playing for the first time since 1994 mean The Masters suddenly isn't a tournament worth watching? Don't be ridiculous" (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 4/9).

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