Did you miss Tiger Woods at the 2014 Masters? CBS and ESPN sure did.
The final round – in which Bubba Watson beat Jordan Spieth and Jonas Blixt by three shots to win his second Masters title in three years – earned a 7.8 rating Sunday afternoon. (A 7.8 rating means that 7.8 percent of American households tuned into the Masters.) Woods, who is recovering from back surgery, did not play in the Masters for the first time since 1994.
The ratings were down 24 percent from last year’s Masters finale, in which Adam Scott beat Angel Cabrera in a playoff, according to Sports Business Daily (subscription required). That Masters had a 10.2 rating. In fact, Sunday’s Masters rating was the lowest final-round rating since Phil Mickelson’s 2004 win, which garnered a 7.2 rating. Interestingly, the highest rating in the last 10 years was for Mickelson’s win in 2012, which got a 12.0 rating. Woods’ last win in 2005 got a 10.3 rating.
Sports Business Journal reporter Austin Karp said on Twitter that the reason for the ratings decline was due to the lack of final-drama as well as Woods’ absence. Mickelson, the game’s second-biggest star, missed the cut this year and also did not play the weekend.
Myriad reasons for CBS’ overnight ratings drop at The Masters, including no back nine drama, no Tiger, Phil and Rory not in contention
— Austin Karp (@AustinKarp) April 14, 2014
According to Sports Business Journal, Saturday’s ratings were similarly soft by previous Masters’ standards.
CBS also drew a 4.4 overnight for Saturday’s third-round coverage of The Masters, down 30 percent from a 6.3 overnight last year.
In the opening round — broadcast by ESPN — Woods’ absence had a clear effect on ratings.
ESPN averaged a 1.8 fast-national rating and 2.5 million viewers for Friday’s second-round coverage of the tournament, down 40 percent for both metrics compared to last year’s event, which drew a 3.0 rating and 4.2 million viewers. For early round coverage on Thursday and Friday coverage, ESPN averaged a 1.6 rating and 2.2 million viewers, down 36 percent and 37 percent, respectively, from a 2.5 rating and 3.5 million viewers last year.