The Masters TV Ratings, 1977-2008

Categories: TV Ratings Reference

Written By

April 17th, 2008

Update (4/17): The 2008 numbers are in and there was ~8% drop in viewership for the final two rounds compared to last year (11.9m to 10.993m). Tiger was definitely in contention as Sunday began but couldn't get closer than 5 strokes. However, that might have kept some folks hanging around to see if he could make a run. I have updated the chart and the table below.

mastersgolfthrough2008.gif

Even a "tradition like no other..." is subject to the magic of Tiger Woods. TV ratings for The Masters at Augusta National from 1977-1996 were quite consistent, averaging 9.5 million viewers for the 2 day CBS weekend broadcasts. Since 1997, and the start of the "Tiger Woods Era", The Masters has averaged 11.7 million viewers, with noticeable peaks when Tiger was the winner (1997, 2001, 2002, 2005), or in the case of 2007, in contention on the final day and finished tied for second. People will consistently tune in to see what happens at "Amen Corner" (the 11, 12th and 13th holes), but only Tiger draws viewers...like no other.

One of the most memorable Masters' moments for both Robert and myself was the 1986 tournament. After a bogie on the 12th hole, Jack Nicklaus charged through the remainder of the course to take the lead. Back in 1986, by the time you were in your mid 40s you generally didn't contend in the majors. Nicklaus had already won five Masters, but he hadn't won the tournament since 1975. In 1986 the Golden Bear was still in the 18-49 demographic at the ripe old age of 46 picked up his sixth Masters. This would be Nicklaus' last victory in one of the four major tournaments.

While Tiger, like Arnold Palmer has "only" four Masters victories so far, his perhaps most memorable Master's moment in 2005 was not the most viewed. Though the table below represents Saturday and Sunday averages, we have the individual day data back to 1992. The Sunday of Tiger's first victory in 1997 was his (and CBS') best Nielsen performance drawing 20.26 million on Sunday, April 13, 1997. We're including a memorable video clip from 2005 below the data table. That Sunday, April 10, 2005 CBS drew 14.63 million viewers.

Average Weekend Viewers for The Masters Golf Tournament, 1977-2007:

Year

Viewers (millions)

Winner

1977

7.8

Tom Watson

1978

10.1

Gary Player

1979

10.5

Fuzzy Zoeller*

1980

 

Seve Ballesteros

1981

10.4

Tom Watson

1982

10.4

Craig Stadler*

1983

9.2

Seve Ballesteros

1984

7.9

Ben Crenshaw

1985

8.8

Bernhard Langer

1986

8.3

Jack Nicklaus

1987

10.5

Larry Mize*

1988

8.4

Sandy Lyle

1989

10.5

Nick Faldo*

1990

11.0

Nick Faldo*

1991

10.2

Ian Woosman

1992

8.9

Fred Couples

1993

7.9

Bernhard Langer

1994

8.7

Jose Maria Olazabal

1995

10.2

Ben Crenshaw

1996

10.2

Nick Faldo*

1997

15.8

Tiger Woods

1998

12.4

Mark O'Meara

1999

10.6

Jose Maria Olazabal

2000

10.1

Vijay Singh

2001

15.0

Tiger Woods

2002

11.4

Tiger Woods

2003

9.5

Mike Weir

2004

10.3

Phil Mickelson

2005

11.8

Tiger Woods

2006

9.9

Phil Mickelson

2007

11.9

Zach Johnson

2008

11.0

Trevor Immelman

*playoff

Note: The chart above shows the average viewership for the final two days broadcasts each year. Within the chart period all broadcasts were on CBS. The Masters has been telecast each year since 1956. 2006 & 2007 viewers are Live+SD, all prior years are Live viewing.

 

Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2008 Nielsen Media Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 
  • Mikey

    I think you mean a tradition “unlike any other”

  • Mikey

    I think you mean a tradition “unlike any other”

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