SBJ/October 24 - 30, 2005/Media

Tiger’s tug on golf ratings

Below are network television’s highest- and lowest-rated final rounds of the 37 PGA tournaments that have aired this year. Tiger Woods was the winner or runner-up in seven of the 10 top-rated events. Woods won a playoff in the Masters. He did not play in the AT&T Pebble Beach event.

Top-rated final rounds
Rank (2004 rank) Event
Woods’ finish 2005/2004
Network
2005 rating
1 (1) The Masters Tournament
1/T22
CBS
9.8
2 (2) U.S. Open
2/T17
NBC
5.6
3 (4) PGA Championship*
T4/T24
CBS
5.6
4 (19) Ford Championship at Doral
1/DNP
NBC
5.5
5 (17) WGC-NEC Invitational
1/T2
CBS
5.0
6 (6) British Open
1/T9
ABC
4.6
7 (15) AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
DNP/DNP
CBS
4.0
8 (21) Cialis Western Open
2/T7
ABC
3.9
9 (12) Wachovia Championship
T11/T3
CBS
3.7
10 (7) Buick Open
T2/T3
CBS
3.6

On the other hand, Woods skipped eight of the 10 least-watched network broadcasts. Ratings plunged in the two tournaments he did play in, as he finished 17th in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and 40th in the Deutsche Bank Championship.

Lowest-rated final rounds
Rank (2004 rank) Event
Woods’ finish 2005/2004
Network
2005 rating
28 (3) WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
T17/1
ABC
2.0
29 (33) Booz Allen Classic
DNP/DNP
ABC
2.0
30 (31) The International
DNP/DNP
CBS
1.9
31 (29) U.S. Bank Championship
DNP/DNP
CBS
1.8
32 (11) Deutsche Bank Championship
T40/T2
ABC
1.7
33 (32) FedEx St. Jude Classic
DNP/DNP
CBS
1.6
34 (30) John Deere Classic
DNP/DNP
ABC
1.5
35 (20) Barclays Classic
DNP/DNP
ABC
1.3
36 (36) Michelin Championship at Las Vegas
DNP/DNP
NBC
1.3
37 (37) Chrysler Classic of Greensboro
DNP/DNP
ABC
1.0

Ratings increased for 10 of the 12 events in which Woods had a better finish this year than in 2004. Woods won a playoff in the WGC-American Express Championship, and ratings more than doubled from last year.

Rank Event
Woods’ finish 2005/2004
Network
2005
rating
Change
1 WGC-American Express Championship
1/9
ABC
2.8
115.4%
2 WGC-NEC Invitational
1/T2
CBS
5.0
72.4%
3 Mercedes Championships
T3/T4
ESPN
2.2
69.2%
4 Cialis Western Open
2/T7
ABC
3.9
50.0%
5 The Masters Tournament
1/T22
CBS
9.8
34.2%
6 PGA Championship*
T4/T24
CBS
5.6
27.3%
7 Bay Hill Invitational
T23/T46
NBC
2.8
12.0%
8 Buick Championship
T2/DNP
CBS
2.2
10.0%
9 British Open
1/T9
ABC
4.6
7.0%
10 U.S. Open
2/T17
NBC
5.6
1.8%
11 Buick Open
T2/T3
CBS
3.6
-7.7%
12 Buick Invitational
1/T10
ABC
2.3
-47.7%

The ratings dropped in all but one of the seven tournaments where Woods’ final position had dropped from his 2004 finish. Ratings for the EDS Byron Nelson Championship plunged more than a third after Woods missed a PGA cut for the first time in an unprecedented seven years. Only the second-year Wachovia Championship saw a ratings increase, earning a 3.7 on CBS, up from a 3.6 last year.

Rank Event
Woods’ finish
2005/2004
Network
2005 rating
change
13 Wachovia Championship
T11/T3
CBS
3.7
2.8%
14 The Memorial Tournament
T3/3
CBS
3.3
-8.3%
15 The Players Championship**
T53/T16
NBC
2.2
-22.2%
16 Nissan Open***
T13/T7
ABC
2.9
-25.6%
17 EDS Byron Nelson Championship
CUT/T4
CBS
2.5
-34.2%
18 Deutsche Bank Championship
T40/T2
ABC
1.7
-54.1%
19 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
T17/1
ABC
2
-58.3%

DNP: Did not play
* Final-round play ended early due to weather and concluded the following Monday from 10-11:15 on CBS, earning a 3.3/12 final Nielsen rating.
** Inclement weather pushed the final round to Monday. NBC earned a 2.8 rating.
*** Sunday’s coverage included third and final rounds due to inclement weather earlier in the tournament.
Sources: Nielsen Media Research; David Broughton, SportsBusiness Journal; Katherine Johnson-Reid, Sports Business Daily

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