Sports TV News
The Match 2 Draws Cable’s Biggest Golf Ratings Ever
“The Match continues the trend of high viewership numbers for sports-related programing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Turner Sports sank a hole-in-one with viewers with its The Match: Champions for Charity event over the Memorial Day weekend to raise money for COVID-19 relief.
The Match paired golf greats Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson with legendary NFL quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. NBA on TNT analyst Charles Barkley crossed over from the basketball court to the golf course to provide commentary. That combination drew in an average of 5.8 million viewers across the Turner Sports family of networks, peaking at 6.3 million viewers between 5:45 and 6 p.m. on Sunday. CNN International also broadcast the event to a worldwide audience and it found success on social media platforms, as well.
Woods and Manning won the event, but it was Brady who turned in the most memorable moments. He sank a birdie from 150 yards away on the Par 5 seventh hole, but also split his pants while bending down to retrieve a ball. Brady later joked about the incident on Twitter saying, “The pants wanted in on social distancing I guess.”
The real winner is Turner Sports, however. Not only did The Match raise 20 million dollars, double the estimated amount, TNT claims that the average of 5.8 million viewers makes The Match the most watched cable golf event in television history. By comparison, Woods and Mickelson held a similar pay-per-view event in 2018, but it was hampered by technical glitches, so exact viewership numbers for that event are not known.
The Match continues the trend of high viewership numbers for sports-related programing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Last Dance, ESPN’s recent documentary on Michael Jordan, averaged 5.6 million views while the NFL Draft drew 55 million viewers over three days.
The Match also became the topic of conversation across social media platforms, as well. According to Turner Sports, the event was the number #1 trending topic on Twitter. In all, 172 million social media impressions were created and The Bleacher Report mobile app, which is owned by Turner, set a record for the most comments made.
Jacob Conley writes about news/talk radio BNM. He can be found on Twitter @GWUJake or reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sports TV News
Sean McManus: LIV Golfers Won’t Get Different Treatment During The Masters
“We’re not gonna put our heads in the sand.”
CBS Sports is preparing for coverage of its 68th consecutive year of The Masters, but the 2023 event could prove to be unlike any before it, and CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus is cognizant of the situation.
After several former Masters champions departed the PGA Tour for the upstart LIV Golf, many pondered what that meant for the sport’s major championships. The Masters decided to continue to allow the golfers who are now playing exclusively with the Saudi-backed league to compete for the green jacket. McManus shared that CBS will continue the showcase the golfers as it always has.
“We’re not gonna cover up or hide anything,” McManus said, as reported by Golf Digest. “As I’ve said so often, our job is to cover the golf tournament. We’re not gonna show any different treatment for the golfers who have played on the LIV tour than we do the other golfers. And if there’s a pertinent point or something that we need to, or we feel that we should bring up in our coverage on Saturday and Sunday, or on our other coverage throughout the week, you know, we’re not gonna put our heads in the sand.
“Having said that, unless it really affects the story that’s taking place on the golf course, we’re not gonna go out of our way to cover it. I’m not sure there’s anything that we could add to the story as it already exists. We’ll cover it as, as is suitable.”
Sports TV News
NFL Owners Not Voting on Flex Scheduling For Thursday Night Football
“The owners have simply decided to wait until May to make their decision.”
Amazon will have to wait for flex scheduling. NFL owners decided to table a proposal that would allow the league to create more compelling matchups for Thursday Night Football later in the season.
That doesn’t mean flex scheduling won’t be a reality on Thursday nights this season. The owners have simply decided to wait until May to make their decision.
Earlier this week, Peter King of NBC Sports reported that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is pushing the idea. Coaches have been outspoken about how much they dislike it, complaining about managing injuries and the competitive disadvantage that would come with finding out you suddenly have a shorter week of preparation than expected. According to King, Goodell is trying to make Amazon happy after the first season of Thursday Night Football failed to deliver projected audience numbers for Prime Video.
League owners did take a step they hope will lead to fewer games between losing teams. Last season, teams could only be scheduled once for a Thursday night game. The owners decided to bump that limit up to twice per season.
Goodell defended the proposal against accusations that the league is prioritizing revenue over player safety.
“We always look at the data with respect to injuries,” he told the media gathered at the league meetings. “That is what drove our decisions throughout the first 12 or so years of Thursday Night Football and how it’s evolved. I think the data was very clear: it doesn’t show a higher injury rate. But we recognize shorter weeks. We went through this with COVID, too.”
When the idea of flex scheduling is revisited in May, it will require the support of 24 team owners in order to become a reality.
Sports TV News
Eric Shanks Got Approval From Alex Rodriguez Before FOX Hired Derek Jeter
“Why wouldn’t we reach out?”
Derek Jeter is going to work a very limited schedule for FOX next season. Still, before he came on board, FOX Sports CEO Eric Shanks wanted the support of Jeter’s former Yankees teammate and on-again/off-again friend Alex Rodriguez.
Andrew Marchand is reporting that Shanks reached out to ARod personally. Rodriguez gave his approval to the network.
“Why wouldn’t we reach out?” a Fox Sports spokesman said when The New York Post reached out for confirmation.
While Derek Jeter is now part of the FOX family, fans shouldn’t expect to see him every time baseball is on the network. He is only scheduled to work “marquee events”. This season, those include the London series, the All-Star Game, and the World Series.
He will be at the desk alongside Kevin Burkhardt, David Ortíz, and Rodriguez.