John Ourand thought a sex scandal could lower the age of golf’s TV audience and was shocked to find out that it didn't happen.
Then I saw the age of the median viewer for ESPN’s Masters telecasts for the first two rounds, and I had to look twice.
It was 57.8 years old.
That number represents an increase of more than two years from last year’s 55.6. The median age for CBS’s two-days of weekend coverage was slightly lower, but showed the same type of increase.
Woods’ return to competitive golf certainly drove more viewers to the Masters — ESPN set golf viewership records for cable and CBS posted its best numbers in nine years. But rather than getting younger, it appears new viewers pushed the golf demo even older.
The percentage of viewers in the 18- to 34-year-old demo — the group most coveted by advertisers — dropped on ESPN, making up 12.5 percent of overall viewers.
Last year, that demo was at 15.7 percent.
Ourand also asked sports business students from Penn’s Wharton School of Business watching the Masters what they'd do to jazz up golf telecasts. Besides panning the post round interviews because the players weren't "drawn out" (they should see a normal tour event interview!), they offer these thoughts:
Some casual fans found the graphics package lacking. They mentioned ball-tracking technology that would show the arc of the ball or graphics that better show the course’s undulation.
“One thing that would be huge in golf is coming up with some way to watch the ball,” said grad student Geoffrey Moore, who describes himself as a big golf fan. “Right now, the only way you can tell if it’s a good shot is by the golfer’s reaction. I don’t know how you’d be able to do that.”
Even with these changes, there’s little chance that the average golf viewer will become younger any time soon.
“You can’t force people into fandom,” Bulgrin said. “It has to happen naturally.”