Psst: Don't Tell CBS The 2018 RBC Heritage Classic Ratings Were Up Even With Non-Streaming Tape Delay


If you weren't aware by now, CBS and the PGA Tour did not see fit to live stream the RBC Heritage final round, which featured expedited tee times to beat forecasted bad weather.

The weather came, the golf was finished on time, and the telecast windows on Golf Channel and CBS featured tape-delayed golf as PGA Tour Radio listeners could enjoy a live broadcast on the tour website. Social media and PGA Tour app users knew also where the RBC Heritage stood. 

Unlike NBC, which has previously live-streamed golf and shown the tape-delay on its broadcast networks, CBS is holding out and blaming the affiliates, writes Golfweek's Dan Kilbridge:

“We have not streamed live golf outside our telecast window during weather-related tee time adjustments to protect our affiliates broadcast exclusivity,” a CBS spokesperson said. “But we are re-examining our policy.”

It ended up being a huge moment for Asian golf with 22-year-old Kim from South Korea and Japan’s Kodaira going toe-to-toe.

John Strege featured this quote from the PGA Tour:

The PGA Tour issued its own statement: “Our network partners have certain exclusive rights that the tour cannot preempt. CBS is re-examining their current policy and we will continue to work together to provide the most comprehensive coverage of our events.”

I'm not sure what the affiliates or network partners will say after the ratings came out, but given the history of CBS holding out as long as possible to modern day trends, I fear they will say the anti-streaming strategy protected the audience size. But the PGA Tour acknowledging a reconsideration suggests that Ponte Vedra Beach wasn't too thrilled with the policy, particularly in week one of life under par where cords are cut, golf is streamed and life is a party.

So don't tell this ratings news to CBS, from Josh Carpenter at Sports Business Daily:

The net drew a 2.0 overnight rating for the final round, which saw Sotashi Kodaira beat Si-Woo Kim in a three-hole playoff for his first PGA Tour win. Yesterday's rating is up 33% from a 1.5 last year, when Wesley Bryan won the event on Easter Sunday.