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Masters final round draws 9.45m viewers on CBS

Viewership rebounds after 2020 but still ranks as lowest for traditional April slot since 1993.

14 April 2021 Ed Dixon
  • Final day was most-watched round of golf since 2019 Masters
  • Climax was also sixth most-watched non-football sporting event since first Covid-19 shutdown
  • 2021 figures down on Tiger Woods’ 2019 Masters win, where final round averaged 10.8m

The final round of this year’s Masters golf tournament averaged a 5.5 rating and 9.45 million viewers on US commercial network CBS, a marked increase on last year’s rescheduled event.

The ratings recorded by Nielsen are the highest for a US golf telecast so far this season, beating the final round of the PGA Tour’s Players Championship, which peaked at almost seven million viewers on NBC. It was also the most-watched round of golf since the 2019 Masters.

According to Sports Media Watch, the Masters’ climax, which saw Hideki Matsuyama become the first Japanese man to claim a major title, also ranks as the sixth most-watched non-football sporting event since the mass cancellations and postponements caused by Covid-19.

The 2020 Masters, which was moved to November due to the pandemic, only mustered a 3.4 rating and 5.59 million viewers. That made it the lowest-rated Sunday at Augusta since 1957 and the least-watched since viewership data was first recorded in 1995.

Though this year’s tournament has enjoyed a considerable uptick in viewership, the figures fall short when compared to the 2019 Masters when Tiger Woods won his fifth green jacket. CBS said the final round that year averaged 10.8 million viewers, with live coverage peaking at 18.3 million viewers.

According to Sports Business Journal (SBJ), this year’s final round of the Masters was also the least-watched held in the tournament’s traditional April slot since 1993.  

Away from the final day of action, the third round averaged a 3.1 rating and 5.18 million viewers, which was up only two per cent and four per cent, respectively, on the 2020 Masters.

ESPN’s second round coverage pulled in a 1.7 rating and 2.69 million in viewership, which is down six per cent and two per cent respectively from last year. According to Sports Media Watch, that was the only round of this year’s tournament that saw a decline. The figures also make it the least-watched second round of the Masters since 2017, which had 2.6 million tuning in.

This year’s opening round on ESPN averaged a 1.5 rating and 2.3 million viewers, the latter representing a four per cent increase on 2020. 

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