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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.”

Brandon Contes

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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.

Sports TV News

FOX Sued for Patent Infringement Over NFL Scheduling

“Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.”

Jordan Bondurant

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An analytics company is suing FOX over claims that the network developed a mapping tool using their patented technology to create a season slate of NFL games.

Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.

The lawsuit claims FOX used access to Recentive’s predictive analytics tools to develop a resource of their own that would create optimal schedules for its 1 and 4 p.m. NFLwindows.

The company is seeking a declaration that FOX infringed on two of its patents. Recentive is also suing for damages and wants an injunction keeping FOX from using Recentive tech and preventing the network from “selling, offering for sale, marketing or using any internal network and mapping analytics tool for the scheduling and regionalization of events covered by the patents.”

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Sports TV News

FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage

“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”

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The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.

Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.

“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.

Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.

How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.

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Sports TV News

NBCUniversal CEO Expects Disney To Buy Company’s Hulu Stake

“Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal.”

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The Walt Disney Company owns 67% of Hulu. The other 33% is owned by NBCUniversal. The latter company doesn’t expect that to be the case forever.

“It’s worth a lot of money,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said at an investor conference earlier this week, “and I think there’s no indication that anything else is going to happen than Disney writing us a big check.”

Hulu is primarily a platform for movies and television shows. It is a major part of Disney’s deal with the NHL though. The streaming giant is part of the package of 103 games that are exclusive to ESPN and ABC. Hulu is also a live TV provider for many. The company’s Hulu Plus Live TV package had over 4 million subscribers as of the summer of 2022.

Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal. He credits sports and content migrated from Hulu as the reason Peacock has grown to 18 million paid subscriptions since September.

Deadline reports that if Disney does want to acquire NBCUniversal’s stake in Hulu, “the price could fluctuate but will be in the tens of billions of dollars.”

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