In an article creatively titled "Tiger's Long Tail" Media Week makes the cast that the Golf Channel might be the biggest winner in Tiger's returns. The story notes, as has previously been written about here that because the folks at Augusta National are big time control freaks, the rates for the Masters have already been fixed and neither ESPN or CBS can change them based on Tiger's return. The story does note though that if the ratings are huge, CBS and ESPN will be able to jack up rates on the remaining tournaments those networks are televising this year.
The story makes the case that Golf Channel with all its coverage of tournaments, including pre-round and post-round action, might be the biggest winner. Though it isn't televising the Masters, it has 34 hours of pre-round and post-round coverage planned during the tournament.
Dave Cassaro, president of Comcast network ad sales, said the potential for big ratings gains is matched by improved performances by Golf's endemics. "We've seen an increase of activity among everything from the equipment manufacturers to automotive," Cassaro said. "We're having a much better year in 2010, and in general, the sports marketplace is in excellent shape, better than anyone could have expected."