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Masters brought down the TV audience in Augusta

Scottie Scheffler’s win last weekend wasn’t enough to halt the TV audience decline that has plagued golf, and especially the PGA Tour, since early 2024. This decline is the result of the simmering conflict arising from the emergence of LIV Golf in June. 2022.

Masters, numbers

The numbers are worrying. The decline in golf TV viewership continues. According to the Sports Business Journal, the final round of the Masters on Sunday, April 14, drew 9.589 million viewers for CBS, a 20% decline compared to Jon Rahm’s victory in the same tournament in 2023.

Additionally, Scottie Scheffler’s win marked the “second-biggest drop of the season” for the US broadcaster, according to the Sports Business Journal, and the lowest since 2021 when Hideki Matsuyama won his first Major tournament (also at the Masters).

“Coverage peaked at 12.562 million viewers in the last fifteen minutes,” as Scottie Scheffler sealed the win, averaging just over 8.210 million for the entire weekend. A strong start The week started well with a bigger crowd during the first two rounds.

Bryson DeChambeau’s successful start, combined with Tiger Woods’ encouraging tournament start, drew more than 3.4 million viewers. This was the highest level since 2018 for the first two rounds. However, it must be acknowledged that the final round did not live up to expectations, with the tension quickly extinguished by the clear favourite.

Scheffler’s rise up the rankings at the midpoint and the collapse of his rivals didn’t really captivate golf fans the way the Rahm-Koepka match did last year. McIlroy sounds the alarm… Nevertheless, the downward trend seen since the start of the season now appears to be the norm, especially on the PGA Tour where numbers are also plummeting.

This trend is worrying for the stakeholders themselves. It is largely a result of the rise of LIV Golf, born in June 2022. This schism leads to the proliferation of talent and the disinterest of golf fans. “If you look at the TV audience for the PGA Tour this year, it’s down 20 percent overall,” said Rory McIlroy.

“Compared to everything that has happened in recent years, people are just fed up and turning away from men’s professional golf. It’s not good for anyone. We need to find solutions to correct all of this. It’s not sustainable in our time.” in the long term 20%, that’s quite a shocking figure this year!”