SBD/April 14, 2014/Media

Lack Of Drama, No Tiger Contribute To Lowest Masters Final Round Overnight Since '04

Watson's three-stroke lead left CBS with a drama-less back nine at the Masters

CBS earned a 7.8 overnight for the final round of The Masters yesterday, which saw Bubba Watson take home his second green jacket in three years by topping Jordan Spieth and Jonas Blixt by three shots. That figure is down 24% from a 10.2 rating for Adam Scott’s playoff win over Angel Cabrera last year. Yesterday's round also is down from Watson’s playoff win over Louis Oosthuizen in ’12. That drew an 8.1 overnight on Easter Sunday (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor). In Dallas, Barry Horn writes Spieth for the first seven holes yesterday "was the apple of the CBS eye," but then "came a four-shot swing that left Spieth two shots behind Watson after nine holes." CBS was "left with a drama-less back nine," and there would be "no memorable Masters moment" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/14). FORBES.com's David Lariviere wrote The Masters was, "for all intents and purposes, decided by the 10th hole," which made for "rather dull television." It was "accentuated" by the absence of Tiger Woods. Lariviere: "One had to wonder if a healthy Tiger, seemingly always a contender, could have put some pressure on Watson that no one else could on that back nine" (FORBES.com, 4/13). ESPN’s Mike Golic said of Woods, “The bottom line is he is ratings, he just is. For those people that want to complain and say, ‘There’s too much Tiger, it's overkill on Tiger’ -- Tiger draws ratings. The ratings are high especially when Tiger is in a tournament. It’s just a fact. So people can complain all they want that it’s overkill on Tiger, but as far as TV networks are concerned, it’s gold” (“Mike & Mike,” ESPN Radio, 4/14).

OVERNIGHT RATINGS TREND FOR FINAL ROUND OF THE MASTERS ON CBS
YEAR
OVERNIGHT
WINNER
'14
7.8
Bubba Watson
'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
'01
12.9
Tiger Woods
'00
10.1
Vijay Singh
'99
10.7
Jose Maria Olazabal
'98
9.9
Mark O'Meara
'97
12.8
Tiger Woods
     

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

START TO THE WEEKEND: CBS also drew a 4.4 overnight for Saturday's third-round coverage of The Masters, down 30% from a 6.3 overnight last year (Karp). The N.Y. POST reported a power outage hit the WCBS-CBS broadcast center in N.Y. on Saturday afternoon, "knocking out the Masters feed to the Greater New York area." A spokesperson said that the isolated outage "affected just the WCBS-2 audience" in the tri-state area for about 22 minutes. Viewers during that time "saw just a screen featuring the station logo, but no explanation for the disruption." The outage began around 3:40pm ET and ended around 4:05pm (NYPOST.com, 4/12). Meanwhile, GOLF DIGEST's John Strege noted CBS on Saturday "provided more time to the missing Eisenhower Tree than the missing Tiger Woods." Analyst Nick Faldo did a "brief feature" on the tree, while Woods, who was unable to play following back surgery, "warranted only a mention in passing" (GOLFDIGEST.com, 4/12).

SLOW OUT OF THE GATES: ESPN averaged a 1.8 fast-national rating and 2.5 million viewers for Friday's second-round coverage of the tournament, down 40% for both metrics compared to last year's event, which drew a 3.0 rating and 4.2 million viewers. For early round coverage on Thursday and Friday coverage, ESPN averaged a 1.6 rating and 2.2 million viewers, down 36% and 37%, respectively, from a 2.5 rating and 3.5 million viewers last year (ESPN). In Denver, Dusty Saunders asks, "Did the absence of Tiger Woods impact unfavorably on the interest in the Masters?" Those "holding to such a belief will tout the Thursday and Friday audience ratings on ESPN" (DENVER POST, 4/14). Woods’ absence "might not be the only reason" for ESPN's drop, but it is "probably the primary one" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/12).

A NEW TRADITION UNLIKE ANY OTHER: YAHOO SPORTS' Shane Bacon writes Masters.com is "still the best viewing experience of any of the major championships in golf," and it seemed this year that the "featured groups each day were players we actually wanted to watch." Bacon: "The Masters online coverage still cannot be touched, and it just seems to improve each year as this tournament continues to embrace a new generation" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/14).

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