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2021 Masters Ratings Among Lowest For Spring Tournament

“2020 aside, this year’s Masters earned its lowest rated final round since 1993.”

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Hideki Matsuyama made history over the weekend as the first Japanese male golfer to win a major championship on the PGA Tour, but continuing a recent trend in North American sports, Sunday’s final round of The Masters was a ratings disappointment. 

CBS’ Sunday broadcast of the Masters averaged 9.45 million viewers and a 5.5 rating. It was an increase from the 2020 Masters which generated 5.59 million viewers and a 3.4 rating, but COVID-19 forced last year’s tournament to be unprecedently played in November. 2020 aside, this year’s Masters earned its lowest rated final round since 1993. 

In 2019, the final round of the Masters did a 7.7 rating, up more than two full points from this year. But there were two major factors playing tug of war with each other in 2019. Ratings magnet Tiger Woods was chasing, and ultimately won the green jacket, but offsetting the superstar effect was inclement weather, which pushed the final round to a rare morning start time. 

2017 represents a fairer comparison for the 2021 Masters, considering it was the last time the tournament was played without Tiger, something the sport might have to get used to. The final round of the Masters in 2017 earned a 7.6 rating. 

When TV ratings are down in the NFL and NBA, detractors point to their social and political messages as reasons for declining viewership. But golfers have mostly steered clear of protests or social stances. In fact, once the tournament teed off, coverage made little mention of the recent voter laws passed by Georgia which led Major League Baseball to pull its All-Star game from the state. Politics might impact the decision to watch a sporting event for a select few, but TV ratings will ultimately continue to decline as viewing habits continue to evolve.

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Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX

“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”

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FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.

A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.

The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.

Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.

That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.

Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.

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FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”

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The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.

Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.

Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”

Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.

“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.

FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.

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NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC

“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”

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ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.

ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.

This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.

Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.

“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”

ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.

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