Judging by Tiger Woods’ impressive performance and spiked television ratings during the tournaments’ leading up to this year’s Masters, ESPN and CBS were ready to benefit from his return.
With Tiger back in the fold, all four days of the Masters experienced a double digit ratings increase from the year prior, but CBS ratings were down from what they could have been had Tiger performed better heading into the weekend.
On Thursday, Woods teed off at 10:42am ET. ESPN didn’t have full coverage of the Masters until 3pm ET, but ratings were still up 40% because of the interest Tiger adds to the tournament. Since ESPN began covering the Masters in 2008, this was their fourth highest rated opening round, behind only 2009, 2010 and 2015, each of which Tiger competed in. According to [sportsmediawatch.com]sportsmediawatch.com, ratings for the second round on ESPN jumped 44% from 2017 and Saturday on CBS increased 24%.
CBS also announced their final round coverage of the Masters on Sunday did an 8.7, up from a 7.6 in 2017. Although that is a 14% ratings increase, last year’s final round was CBS’ lowest rated Sunday of the Masters in 13 years. Even without Tiger in the hunt for the Green Jacket, a competitive final round made it easy for CBS to top last year’s numbers.
Judging by the ratings spike for ESPN, CBS would have enjoyed increases double what they experienced had Tiger been on the leaderboard, something networks and the PGA hope to see during the remaining major championships.