Since the new schedule was announced, I’ve long moaned about the lack of a Labor Day Monday finish as a strange abandonment of a solid day for sports watching. Networks generally concede the day to travelers and vacationers trying to get back home, and yet the ratings tell a slightly different story.
Reader KD reminded me of this odd abandonment today, writing:
So let me get this straight the PGA Tour thinks its a better idea to end its Fed Ex Playoffs the week before Labor Day? I am looking at the TV offerings on the east coast this afternoon on the major channels---they include a strong man competition, some non-descript Indy Car race and X Games. Granted the US Open is being shown on ESPN but it is being contested by a couple of lesser known players.
Yep, the offerings are slim and Monday has networks showing their usual weekday shows when in the recent past, the Dell Technologies (formerly the Deutsche Bank Championship) was finishing on Labor Day Monday. The day’s primary competition come from Flushing Meadows and Louisville, where Notre Dame is visiting at 8 pm ET.
The ratings from the last two Dell’s:
2017: 1.8 for Saturday’s third round, 2.2. for Sunday’s final round
2018: 1.8 for Saturday, 2.3 for Sunday
The 2019 Tour Championship played one week ago drew a 2.9 overnight and 1.5 for Saturday’s rain-suspended round. All broadcasts were on NBC.
While the ratings were higher for this year’s tour finale played a week prior to Labor Day, it’s easy to picture this year’s format, stars and promotion drawing a similar rating on Labor Day Monday (and a higher rating if played on the west coast).
Buying an extra week would make players happier after a pretty compacted finish following The Open.
And yes, Labor Day weekend in Atlanta means competing with other things, and the combination of sponsors and proud partners need to be on board (a big if). But reclaiming the last free Monday of summer still seems worth exploring in the next television contract.
I’l leave the last word to reader KD:
Even if they stay in Atlanta how can they not play on the last holiday weekend of the summer when many people will be home tomorrow either sending their kids off to the first day of school or preparing to start the work week. Is Atlanta that small of a sporting city that they cannot handle two major sporting events on the same weekend (happens here all the time here in New York).
They can own the "end of summer" by just pushing things back one week and starting the Fall Season a week later.