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US Open Sees Record Low Ratings For Final Round

“Golf just can’t compete with football. That may be a reality the PGA has to face when putting 2020 in perspective.”

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The PGA Tour cannot be happy today with the news it has received about the US Open. The tournament’s final round saw the lowest television audience in history for the event according to Sports Media Watch.

The previous low came in 2014 when the final round averaged a 3.0 rating and viewership north of 4.3 million. Those numbers are admirable compared to 2020. This year’s final round drew an average rating of 2.0 and 3.21 million viewers. Year-over-year, ratings for the final round were down 55%. Viewership was down 56%.

While all sports have struggled to regain their pre-pandemic footing in 2020, the US Open seemingly was heavily effected by the competition.

In his Sports Media Watch column, Paulsen noted the clear effect the NFL had on golf’s potential audience by looking at ratings for golf majors played earlier in the year.

“Notably, Sunday’s telecast averaged a lower rating and fewer viewers than the final rounds of NBC’s two previous tournaments — the Tour Championship on Labor Day (2.4, 4.01M) and BMW Championship last month (2.2, 3.44M). Those telecasts did not face football competition.”

Golf just can’t compete with football. That may be a reality the PGA has to face when putting 2020 in perspective. Not only did the final round of the US Open struggle against the NFL. Third round coverage also came up well short of expectations, as it faced competition from college football.

NBC certainly bears the brunt of this bad news, as it is the network that received the poor ratings, but it isn’t good news for CBS either. That network is set to carry The Masters in November.

That tournament will be played during what will be Week 10 for the NFL. It is the same week that college football offers some marquee matchups including Wisconsin at Michigan, Texas A&M at Tennessee, and Alabama at LSU.

Sports TV News

Al Michaels: Condensed Prep Time For Thursday Night Football ‘A Downside’

“It’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us.”

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There were bound to be unexpected hiccups and unintended consequences as Al Michaels moved to Thursday Night Football with Amazon Prime Video.

He told The Boston Globe Thursday that one of the downsides of the week’s schedule is less prep time with the teams playing in the game.

“When we go to see the teams, it’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us,” Michaels said. “And all the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve built some great relationships with coaches and players and GMs and owners and you name it, and I don’t get that much time to spend with them anymore. That’s a downside part of it for me. Some of the best stories you get come from those relationships.”

Michaels has raised eyebrows this season while not being shy about his disdain for some poor matchups early in the schedule. However, he now understands that there are quality games as the season approaches its close.

“The schedule was a little leaky with the Carolina-Atlanta game and a couple of other games that we’ve had, but now we’re positioned for a nice run down the stretch,” said Michaels.

The 78-year-old was also asked how he remains energetic and passionate for the job he’s held for so long.

The games are exciting. I love sports. You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no script. And unscripted television is the greatest.”

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Sports TV News

Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

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Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

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Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

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The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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