SBD/August 14, 2017/Media

CBS Draws Lowest PGA Championship Sunday Overnight Since Competing With Beijing Games

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Yesterday's final round on CBS peaked at a 5.0 rating from 6:30-7:00pm ET
CBS yesterday drew a 3.6 overnight for the final round of the PGA Championship, which saw Justin Thomas win his first major by two strokes over Francesco Molinari, Patrick Reed and Louis Oosthuizen. That figure from 2:00-7:15pm ET is the lowest for the PGA Championship since '08, when the event aired up against the Beijing Games and Padraig Harrington won. The 3.6 also is down from a 3.9 overnight last year, when Jimmy Walker beat Jason Day by one stroke. Last year's event aired in late July to avoid the Rio Games. While down from recent years, the PGA Championship final round overnight was flat compared to this year's final rounds at the Open Championship on NBC and U.S. Open on Fox. Yesterday's final round on CBS peaked at a 5.0 rating from 6:30-7:00pm and again from 7:00-7:15pm. Host market Charlotte led the way with a 6.9 local rating, followed by Greenville-Spartanburg (6.1) and West Palm Beach (6.1). Yesterday's final round was hampered by lower levels of houses using TVs compared to recent years. CBS' HUT levels for the final round were down 3% from '16, down 4% from '15 and down 11% from '14. Meanwhile, the major cable news networks -- MSNBC, CNN and Fox News -- saw combined ratings yesterday in that 2:00-7:15pm window jump 25% compared to the same weekend last year as news was still developing from the demonstrations in Charlottesville. Those three news networks also saw a 19% increase during CBS' Saturday window for the PGA Championship. CBS drew a 2.4 for the third round. TNT on Friday drew a 1.0 overnight for second-round coverage, which was flat compared to '16. Both years saw rain hamper second-round coverage (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

PGA CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL ROUND OVERNIGHT RATINGS TREND ON CBS
YEAR
RATING
WINNER (STROKES)
'17
3.6
Justin Thomas (2)
'16*
3.9
Jimmy Walker (1)
'15
5.1
Jason Day (3)
'14
6.0
Rory McIlroy (1)
'13
4.4
Jason Dufner (2)
NOTE: * = Aired weeks earlier to avoid Rio Games.

ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE: MORNINGREAD.com's Steve Elling writes CBS was "at its storytelling best during the waning moments" of yesterday's round. When Thomas clinched his first major, the net "was ready with reams of backstory context" about his long friendship with Jordan Spieth. CBS also "caught all the compelling moments, such as when Thomas hoisted the beastly winner's trophy ... turned to PGA officials and cracked: 'I'm not strong enough to hold this thing up.'" CBS "never has been the best in broadcasting at wading into controversial topics ... or rocking boats by emphasizing controversial moments, such as the 10-second count on Thomas' cliffhanger putt to open the back nine." The net "whiffed by failing to adequately address the rule regarding the amount of time a player is allowed to wait while a putt is poised on the lip of the cup." While it looked like Thomas was "on the cusp of a violation," CBS "never bothered to explain" the rule (MORNINGREAD.com, 8/14).

SOLID TALKING POINTS: In Tampa, Tom Jones writes CBS had a "solid weekend" in its coverage of the tournament. Analyst Nick Faldo was on "top of his game, particularly Saturday when he tore into Jason Day, who took himself out of the running on the 18th hole" with an 8 on the par 4. Faldo on-air called it "one of the worst decisions I've seen a professional golfer make" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 8/14). GOLFWEEK's Martin Kaufmann wrote CBS' Amanda Balionis "seems to be growing into" the job of post-round interviewer. She "tends to ask concise and pointed questions that provoke thoughtful answers from players." Kaufmann: "I judge an interviewer by how engaged his or her subjects appear to be." In Balionis’ case, the players "seem engaged in the conversations, which suggests she has their respect." That "usually results in productive interviews" (GOLFWEEK.com, 8/11).

A MIXED BAG: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick notes CBS "cut from live coverage" Saturday for a post-round interview with Graham DeLaet, who "came across as a sweetheart." DeLaet, who burst into contention by going six-under through a four-hole stretch, was "humble, polite, grateful, surprised and excited." However, later on Saturday with the leaders still playing, CBS "left for a 45-second on-camera discussion" between Faldo and Jim Nantz "before going to commercials" (N.Y. POST, 8/14). GOLFWEEK's Kaufmann wrote CBS' Peter Kostis "had a couple of good moments Saturday." When Day lined up an eagle putt, Kostis "did exactly what an on-course announcer should do: He identified potential trouble before the player struck the shot." Day "putted it 10 feet past the hole and missed." That was "good work by Kostis." However, CBS can be "exasperating with all that it doesn’t show" audiences. Viewers likely "didn’t see more than 20 shots combined" by Grayson Murray, Patrick Reed, Gary Woodland, Scott Brown and Molinari on Saturday. All finished the third round in the top 10 (GOLFWEEK.com, 8/12). GOLF DIGEST's Alex Myers wrote, "If you've watched even an hour of TV coverage this week, you're probably sick of hearing about Quail Hollow's 'Green Mile'" -- holes No. 16, 17 and 18 (GOLFDIGEST.com, 8/12).

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: Golf writer Geoff Shackelford wrote he "thoroughly tested the PGA app Saturday and can concur on all complaints about it freezing, crashing and replaying ads constantly each time you have to restart a stream." Why an advertiser would "want to be associated with this issue" is "beyond me." The website aesthetics and functionality are also "very substandard compared to what we get with other golf events" (GEOFFSHACKELFORD.com, 8/12).
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