SBD/May 1, 2014/Media

Golf Channel Sees Most-Watched April Ever Behind Masters Programming, "Arnie"

Golf Channel had its most-watched April ever, averaging 130,000 total-day viewers, which was up 2% compared to the same period in '13. The net's figure was boosted by coverage from Augusta during The Masters, which marked the net's most-watched week of the year to date. The record came despite the fact Tiger Woods did not play and the net not having broadcast rights to actual play at The Masters. Golf Channel also averaged 195,000 viewers in primetime in April, up 13% from last year. The net was buoyed the premiere of "Arnie," with the documentary drawing 471,000 viewers for the first installment on April 13. It was the most-watched original film in network history, beating out the 241,000 viewers for “War By The Shore” in ’12, which looked at the ’91 Ryder Cup. The second night of “Arnie” on Monday drew 341,000 viewers, while the final installment on Tuesday drew 320,000 viewers. Golf Channel also had strong numbers for the April 3-6 LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship. Golf Channel drew 670,000 viewers for the final round, marking the best final round for the event since it moved from ESPN/CBS in ’11. The audience also marks the most-watched round of women’s golf since the final round of the Solheim Cup last year drew 780,000 viewers. The LPGA Lotte Championship also helped the net's primetime numbers, as the event aired from Hawai. The final round drew 485,000 viewers, marking the most-watched round for a non-major since the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic in April '12 (566,000 viewers) (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor). The Greater Gwinnet Championship on April 18-20 "set the 2014 high" for a Champions Tour event audience on Golf Channel. Miguel Angel Jimenez won the event in his Champions Tour debut only one week "after contending at the Masters" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 5/1).

MOVING THE NEEDLE: In Columbus, Rob Oller writes under the header, "Golf Needs Tiger Woods If It's To Remain Must-See TV." Woods is out at least until the British Open in July after undergoing back surgery, and while golf purists "might pooh-pooh his importance ... the masses only show up when Woods hits the screen." That was clear as The Masters' weekend rounds had the "smallest TV audience" since '93. Woods had played in the event every year since '95. Oller: "Even those who turn thumb's down on Woods, as a player and/or person, must admit the game is more interesting with him in the field. And because interest equals ratings, better ratings mean more moolah in the pockets of pros." Golfer Pat Perez said, "The tour needs him. We need him forever. We need him more than anything. But one day he's going to be gone. Then what?" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 5/1).
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