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Masters Draws Largest Audience in Two Years as Young Stars Fill Tiger Void

A decade after incomes low-amateur honors on the 2011 Masters, Hideki Matsuyama on Sunday returned to Butler Cabin to don the Green Jacket. In holding off a surging Xander Schauffele and the rookie phenom Will Zalatoris, the 29-year-old Matsuyama not solely grew to become Japan’s first males’s main champion, however he helped give golf its largest TV viewers in two years.

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day scores, CBS’ protection of the fourth spherical of the eighty fifth Masters Tournament averaged 9.45 million viewers and a 5.5 family ranking, making it the most-watched spherical of golf since Tiger Woods received at Augusta for the fifth time in 2019. While Matsuyama’s victory marked the bottom TV turnout for a usually scheduled Masters in the trendy Nielsen period—November’s out-of-sync tourney closed out in entrance of a Sunday viewers of 5.59 million viewers and a 3.4 ranking—the deliveries had been something however disappointing.

As we famous final week, the distinctive construction of the Masters’ sponsorship preparations successfully dilutes the relevance of the general TV scores. IBM, Mercedes-Benz and AT&T underwrite CBS’ manufacturing prices, and in alternate for some $24 million, the three Augusta backers share 4 minutes of airtime per hour. As is the case with the Super Bowl, CBS makes no efficiency ensures to the advertisers; in different phrases, the community isn’t on the hook for any audience-deficiency models/make-goods.

Messaging from a fourth Augusta sponsor, Rolex, appeared in the Masters stay stream, which supplied alternate feeds from featured teams and steady protection from Amen Corner and the fifteenth and sixteenth holes.

Matsuyama’s one-stroke win capped an outsized week of motion for CBS, which obtained issues rolling final Monday night time with its broadcast of the NCAA Division I males’s basketball championship. Speaking of March Madness, Sunday’s golf outing out-delivered all however two of the 65 faculty hoops video games, as the Final Four matchup between UCLA and Gonzaga served up 14.9 million viewers and a 7.6 ranking, whereas Baylor’s dismantling of the Bulldogs in the ultimate averaged 16.9 million viewers and a 9.4 ranking.

The fourth spherical of the Masters additionally put up greater numbers than 4 of the six 2020 World Series broadcasts on Fox and simply outpaced every of the six October NBA Finals video games on ABC. (As with final fall’s Masters, the NBA championship collection misplaced floor in the face of a radical temporal shift, which in flip led to some quite unfavorable head-to-head matchups with NFL video games.)

The week earlier than the Masters was set to tee off, Jim Nantz assured a gaggle of reporters that golf’s grandest tourney wasn’t wholly depending on the fortunes of Tiger Woods. “I think we’ve arrived at the point now where we don’t have to rely on just Tiger,” Nantz mentioned, including that the PGA’s “pool of [young] talent is being recognized, which is reflected in the ratings.”

While this 12 months’s Masters could have drawn a crowd that was extra in line with Bernhard Langer’s Easter Sunday viewers in 1993 than the one which turned up for Tiger’s record-smashing 1997 triumph, Nantz’s level about golf’s youngest stars was prescient. Not solely did the 24-year-old Zalatoris end only a stroke behind the far-from-superannuated Matsuyama, however Jordan Spieth, the long-struggling 2015 Masters champ, put himself again on the map with a third-place end, tying Schauffele. Both duffers are 27.

If the youthful professionals should do most of golf’s heavy lifting now that the GOAT is laid up for an indefinite stretch, that’s not a nasty group from which to begin. Add to their quantity among the tour’s luminaries who didn’t make the reduce (Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka), and broadcasters and viewers ought to have lots to sit up for. And the wait is probably not lengthy. Four of the aforementioned professionals are among the many betting favorites to win subsequent month’s PGA Championship.

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