Pretty impressive bump given that Tiger Woods was not in the afternoon wave for the ESPN window.
Masters First Round Viewership on ESPN Up 40 Percent From 2017
Nearly three million viewers tuned in for ESPN’s telecast of the first round of the Masters Tournament on Thursday, an increase of 40 percent over the Thursday audience of last year, according to Nielsen Fast National data.
The telecast, which aired from 3 p.m. – 7:20 p.m. ET, averaged 2,971,287 viewers, up 40 percent from the 2,129,214 Thursday average in 2017 and up 24 percent from the 2016 Thursday average of 2,397,624.
The telecast ranked as the fourth-best Thursday since ESPN began airing the Masters Tournament in 2008, exceeded only by the years in which Tiger Woods was featured in Thursday coverage (2009, 2010 and 2015). Most of Woods’ round on Thursday had already been completed when ESPN’s telecast began.
The telecast also saw growth across all key demographics, with a 44 percent increase in persons 25-54.