Open Championship A Ratings Win For ESPN

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

This past weekend’s broadcast of the Open Championship on ESPN and the ESPN family of networks set a new cable viewership record for the network.  The final round of play from 8am – 1:30pm brought the network a U.S. rating of 3.1 with a total of four million three hundred and seventy-two thousand viewers.  That number tied the network’s rating set in the final round of 2012’s Open Championship for a cable telecast of the event.  It surpassed last year’s total viewership of four million, seven hundred and seventy-two thousand viewers.  Sunday’s overall coverage of the Open Championship third round is the third highest-rated coverage for of all golf telecasts on cable.  It comes in third behind the 2008 U.S. Open playoff 2010 Masters first round.  The coverage in question was the match in which golf phenom Tiger Woods had returned after his cheating scandal.  Saturday’s overall coverage ranks ninth overall in the numbers of cable golf coverage.

Saturday’s broadcast from 9am – 2:47pm earned ESPN a 2.7 U.S. house hold rating, averaging three million seven hundred and seventy-six thousand viewers.  That beat out 2012’s third round coverage rating of 2.6 U.S. household rating with three million five hundred and forty-five thousand viewers.  This year’s rating marks the highest-rated and highest-viewed coverage of the third-round of the Open Championship for ESPN.

 ABC also performed well in its encore broadcast of the championship over the weekend.  It pulled in a 1.4 rating, up from 2012’s 1.3 in metered market ratings.  Sunday’s telecast pulled a 1.6 metered market rating.  That was even with last year’s broadcast. 

Ratings for ESNP’s digital coverage of the Open Championship were also up across the board.  That includes ESPN.com, Fantasy, Mobile ESPN Web, ScoreCenter, and WatchESPN.  ESPN.com’s Golf section saw an average of 890,000 daily unique visitors over the weekend.  That’s up twenty-two percent.  It saw an average minutes per day of nine point three million minutes per day on the section.  That is an increase of sixty-five percent. 

In its mobile coverage, ESPN mobile web averaged seven point six million minutes per day during the Championship.  That is an increase of thirty-two percent.  The Golf section on the ScoreCenter app averaged four hundred and thirteen thousand daily unique visitors.  This is an increase of one hundred and seven percent.  It saw an average of two million minutes per day (up one hundred and five percent).  Solidifying ESPN’s digital coverage, the combined numbers from WatchESPN and ESPN3 pulled in seventy-four point eight million total minutes through the Championship, up twenty-one percent compared to 2012’s coverage of the Open Championship. 

ESPN’s television golf telecasts of the Open Championship hold nine of the ten positions, including the top five. 

For all the latest from ESPN, go online to http://www.facebook.com/ESPN or http://www.espn.com.

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New PGA dvd documents a “major” moment in time

Golf, it’s said, is the gentleman’s game.  And since the PGA was founded April 10th, 1916, many gentleman have come through its ranks.  Those names go all the way back to the winner of the inaugural PGA Championship, James M. Barnes.  The PGA Championship was the first of what would become one of the PGA’s “majors.”  In 1934, another of the “majors” began, and has since brought the name of many gentlemen to fame.  That tournament was the Masters Tournament.  Horton Smith won the very first tournament, beating Craig Wood to take that title.  Since then, the Masters Tournament has brought many more names to prominence among the PGA’s ranks, including legends Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. The pair combined for a total of ten Masters titles since Palmer took his first title in 1957.  Now, fifty-five years after Palmer won his first title, members and fans of the PGA could very well be looking at another legend in the making after the conclusion of this year’s Masters Tournament.  His name is Bubba Watson.  And thanks to the people at A&E TV, at&t, ExxonMobile and IBM, fans of the PGA can re-live Watson’s unexpected win at this year’s tournament in the dvd release of “Highlights of the 2012 Masters Tournament.”

“Highlights of the 2012 Masters Tournament” takes fans through the tournament from the pre-tournament festivities to the amazing final battle for the title between Watson and South African Louis Oosthuizen.  Along the way, the dvd takes fans on the up and down journey throughout each round.  The final score of each round highlights that there was no clear cut leader.  Each round saw a diferent golfer at the top of the leaderboard.  Fans can watch as Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods struggle through the first round.  Their troubles, combined with Henrik Stenson’s collapse late in the first round set up what would become the start of Watson’s weekend rise.

The ups and downs of the tournament aren’t all that make this brand new dvd so enjoyable for golfers and fans of the “gentleman’s sport.”  Fans learn that the 2012 Masters tournament was recorded on a total of twenty-eight 3-D cameras.  It’s noted that the setup was the largest production of its kind.  That in itself is impressive.  Just as impressive is how this final product was edited and assembled for fans, including the soundbites added throughout the highlights.  Those soundbites really helped to emphasize the emotion being felt by the competitors.  The note of the production and the soundbites aren’t the only extra pieces of information that fans get in watching this documentary.  Audiences also learn that the double eagle shot by Oosthuizen in the final round was the first ever on television.  In small part, that may be seemingly irrelevant to anything.  But in the grand scheme of things, it shows how rare such a feat is, and for that matter, how rarely such a feat has ever been recorded.  That being the case, even such a small piece of information plays a big role in the overall presentation of this dvd. 

The doube eagle shot by Oosthuizen was one of many wonderful moments in this year’s Masters tournament.  ANother wonderful moment was watching Watson as he received his first ever green jacket, and the press conference that followed.  He openly professed his faith, and talked frankly with reporters about the tournament, adoption, and life in general.  He showed that he was just an average person who got lucky enough to be where he was.  He seemed to break the sterotypical mold of PGA pros and relate to the average fan and viewer.  Those moments are exactly what the PGA needs to bring in a whole new audience.  And having added them in their entirety as bonus features here makes the overall dvd presentation all the better.

The 2012 Masters Tournament was one of the greatest tournaments in PGA history.  From the weather, to the the ups and downs of tournament favorites, to the unlikely win of Bubba Watson, this new DVD documents it all, in a timely fashion.  The general presentation clocks in at just under an hour.  It all combines for what is a wonderful introduction to the sport for new fans, and an equally wonderful walk down memory lane for fans who have been watching the sport for a very long time.

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