Sports TV Ratings Decline And Golf

A few of you were alarmed that the Ryder Cup ratings dropped this year given how exciting the golf was. I see it as a positive that the number only dropped a bit with Tiger not playing and some having cut their cable cords.

But the decline was actually in line with ratings drops across all sports and in particular, the NFL, something John Ourand, Austin Karp & Daniel Kaplan of SBD considered in a story headlined, "time to panic over declining viewership?"

Golf got this mention, one of the few positive ones.

Publicly, media executives are not panicked. They say it’s too early to identify any long-lasting trends, especially considering that some properties, like the NBA and college football, have seen increases. ABC, for example, produced the highest-rated NBA Finals since 1998, and NBC’s portion of the PGA Tour schedule posted a 9 percent viewership increase this season.

“All these sports go through cycles,” said Artie Bulgrin, ESPN’s senior vice president of global research and analytics. “It’s impossible to suggest that there’s anything going wrong here, particularly in light of the fact that we are in a really odd year in terms of the protracted presidential race, which has captured the attention of Americans going back a year now. Plus, it’s an Olympic year, which clearly had an impact during the summer.”

The ratings discussion could impact whether the PGA Tour opts out of its existing NBC/CBS deal to renegotiate terms or revamp schedules.