This isn’t an apples to apples situation since Tiger Woods played early during the first round of the Masters last year. He went off at 10:45 a.m., meaning ESPN only got to show his last holes when it went on the air.
So why were ratings down considerably yesterday?
You wouldn’t be wrong if you said Woods’ absence has reduced the buzz for the tournament. Perhaps viewers weren’t as geared up to see Bill Haas at the top of the leaderboard.
I can’t think of another reason besides the Tiger factor. There was some compelling golf Thursday, especially with Phil Mickelson’s wild ride.
Will be interesting to see the ratings for Friday. Woods went off late in the second round last year, meaning ESPN’s afternoon coverage was wall-to-wall Tiger.
The release from ESPN:
ESPN’s live telecast of the first round of the 2014 Masters Tournament on Thursday, April 10, attracted an average audience of 2 million viewers with a 1.5 U.S. household rating, according to Nielsen Media fast national data.
ESPN’s telecast aired from 3-7:30 p.m. ET. Viewership peaked at 2.4 million between 6:30-7 p.m. while the ratings peak was a 1.7 between 6-6:30 p.m.
The ratings and viewership declined from ESPN’s 2013 first round telecast, which earned a 2.0 rating with 2.8 million viewers.
While ESPN’s live Masters coverage ends Friday, SportsCenter and ESPN.com will continue to report from the Masters throughout the weekend.