Sports business expert: Woods to drive record TV ratings

Augusta — There’s nothing like curiosity to propel TV ratings. So expect some big numbers on ESPN when Tiger Woods tees off at the Masters on Thursday afternoon after a five-month hiatus.

“I’m going to go out on a limb and predict it will be the highest ever [TV ratings] for that round of the Masters,” said William Sutton, associate director of the University of Central Florida’s sports business program.

“The ratings will be astronomically high for the whole Masters,” Sutton said. “This is Elvis, Michael Jackson and Babe Ruth all rolled into one.”

Sutton said golf fans and non-fans alike will be anxious to see how Woods performs on the first tee, to be broadcast live on ESPN at 1:42 p.m.

“Is he a super-hero? Does he shank it or drive it down the fairway?” asked Sutton, referring to what viewers want to see.

ESPN spokesman Mark Mandel said his network does not project ratings.

“Obviously, there is enormous interest in Tiger,” Mandel said.

Already, there is preliminary evidence of that interest.

Woods’ first news conference Monday afternoon was watched by 339,000 viewers on the Golf Channel, according to Nielsen Media Research data.

That was an increase of 422 percent from the same time slot a week ago.

On ESPN News, 306,000 people watched Woods’ news conference, according to the Nielsen data.

That represented a 325 percent increase over the same time slot a week ago.

Those who study TV numbers said Woods’ persona generally doubles the ratings, pleasing advertisers and TV execs alike.

But because of the sex scandal and media fallout, this Masters’ tournament will be especially popular on TV.

ESPN will show the first two rounds Thursday and Friday. Then the coverage switches to CBS for the final two rounds.

Think CBS wants Woods to make the cut?

10 comments Add your comment

Ghost

April 7th, 2010
1:09 pm

OF COURSE, CBS wants him to make the cut. Even the advertisers who dropped them want him to make it if they bought ad space on CBS.

Ghost

April 7th, 2010
1:11 pm

What would drive even MORE people to watch is if Tiger and Jesper Parnevik were paired on Sunday!

johntyhn

April 7th, 2010
1:14 pm

Forget Jesper Parnevik, he’s not even playing… and who knows when Parnevik comes back, his got serious injuries issues.

BullDawgRick

April 7th, 2010
1:28 pm

This is Elvis, Michael Jackson and Babe Ruth all rolled into one.”

Whatta joke!!! The Masters (what a name for the black guy to be playing) does not even pull NCAA hoops or NASCAR (Daytona) numbers… Oh yeah, that’s right.. When Babe played, there was no TV.. Elvis in his early days, only black & white TV & MJ…. So yes, he might pull Babe or Elvis #’s… But it’ll be to see the “wreck” like if he crashes & burns….

Goff is a sport.. Not an athletic event!!

BullDawgRick

April 7th, 2010
1:30 pm

Woods’ first news conference Monday afternoon was watched by 339,000 viewers on the Golf Channel, according to Nielsen Media Research data.

That was an increase of 422 percent from the same time slot a week ago.

The above should tell ya…. No one watches goff

Wednesday’s Links

April 7th, 2010
1:48 pm

[...] Unger from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution speaks to a Sports Business professor on Tiger Woods’ influence on TV [...]

AJC = TABLOID BS

April 7th, 2010
3:57 pm

Way to separate yourself AJC from every other garbage tabloid piece of news. Tiger this and Tiger that. Find a new Jesus already…

Report on the Masters, give this Tiger crap a rest. He isn’t bigger than the Masters, it’s the greatest golf tourney in the world and it’s in our state and all you can do is Tiger this and it’s reported Tiger banged his neighbors kid. How valid is this rumor anyway? You publish rumors, when you do that you are tabloid.

AJC=Tabloid Garbage

Bogey

April 7th, 2010
4:26 pm

Hey BullDawg…. That time slot, was during the week, and during work hours.

How about that? Maybe normally, people are working and not watching TV.. Atleast the ones who DO play golf, and aren’t retired.

By the way.. How does one say golf isn’t an athletic event… but quotes.. NASCAR? Seriously? How athletic is that? Holding your piss for 5 hours while you go in circles? I bet thats pretty athletic.

Bogey

April 7th, 2010
4:27 pm

With that said.. Who cares about Tiger. The rating will be up, but the Masters didn’t need it anyways. It’s already big on it’s own.

The guy could throw his balls in whatever wench he wants, I don’t care. He didn’t do anything that other sports icons haven’t done before anyways… Let him play golf.

[...] and that is due in large part to Tiger. Heck, his press conference on Monday was watched by nearly 650,000 viewers. A press conference! And that was a Monday afternoon presser, [...]