The Forecaddie: CBS, Golf Channel see big Honda Classic audience spike

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The Forecaddie: CBS, Golf Channel see big Honda Classic audience spike

Forecaddie

The Forecaddie: CBS, Golf Channel see big Honda Classic audience spike

The Man Out Front will break down the key numbers from a busy weekend of sports and then share a few thoughts. Here goes:

Final numbers are in and CBS averaged four million viewers for the 3:15-6 p.m. ET block of Sunday’s 2018 Honda Classic. That’s up 43% over Rickie Fowler’s 2017 win on NBC according to SBD. The big ratings also wrap up what CBS is calling its highest viewership in five years for the early season coverage that started at the Farmers Insurance Open and now takes a break until the Masters. Normally the Honda is an NBC event but CBS takes over in Winter Olympics years.

Golf Channel’s final round lead-in coverage of Sunday’s Honda Classic averaged an eye-popping 1.6 million viewers, making it the most watched lead-in coverage in five years and the fourth most-watched Golf Channel lead-in telecast ever. Even with a busy sports calendar, Golf Channel was overwhelmingly the No. 1 cable sports network from 1-3:15 p.m. ET on Sunday.

The Forecaddie probably does not have to tell you that there is a massive Tiger Woods effect in play here. But consider how tough the viewing competition was on Sunday,. Golf not only held its own but surely got the attention of sponsors thinking the sport cannot compete with the big boys.

Overnights for NASCAR (3.1), Winter Olympics (2.2) and NBA (Spurs-Cavs) on ABC (2.3) all could have hurt Honda Classic audience. But the power of Tiger and a competitive leaderboard managed to bring in as many or more eyeballs than all of those sports properties.

As the Tour broadcasts now head to NBC, TMOF is very happy he does not have to worry about the awful transitions from Golf Channel to CBS, where college basketball games make a mess of things.

The ratings for Sunday’s Michigan State-Wisconsin game, that ran long as the Honda was getting good and CBS was forced to give bonus coverage to Golf Channel: a 1.4 in its 1-3:15 p.m. ET window.

In other words, millions of people were waiting for a Big Ten game to end so they could watch golf. The sports fans have spoken: they want their golf.

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