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Tiger Woods Still Has 'Halo Effect' On TV Ratings

Tiger Woods Still Has 'Halo Effect' On TV Ratings
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Tiger Woods may not have been in contention to win his fifth Green Jacket at Augusta National on Sunday at the Masters, but the Tiger halo effect on TV ratings is still very real.

It had been 1,089 days since Tiger Woods had played Augusta National before the opening round Thursday and, understandably, the ratings suffered in his absence. In 2017, the Masters saw its lowest ratings in 13 years.

Although Tiger played himself out of contention on Friday, his presence over the weekend mixed with a compelling final round — with big names Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler charging on eventual Champion Patrick Reed — had viewership over 13 million for CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS), up from 11 million figure on Sunday in 2017.

'He Doesn't Even Have To Win' 

“Some of that had to do with Tiger Woods, even though he wasn’t really a factor and didn't have a chance to win. There was still some halo effect there, and it also helped that it was pretty exciting tournament,” media consultant Brad Adgate told Benzinga.

“Tiger Woods has always lived up to the hype, but this is a new Tiger Woods — and even when it comes to golfing, he’s human.”

Before the tournament started, Adgate predicted that if Tiger was in contention on the second nine on Sunday, the ratings could rival Wood’s record-breaking 1997 Masters win.

While golf fans will have to wait and see if or when Tiger can re-enter the winners' circle, one thing is certain: if he once again becomes a contender, particularly in the next major, the U.S. Open, ratings could see record numbers.

"He doesn't even have to win; he just needs to be in contention. That would be spectacular television," Adgate said.

At the Valspar Championship in Florida last month, Woods who eventually finished tied for second place, saw the highest non-major television ratings on the PGA Tour in five years

“Tiger in a tournament is better than Tiger not being in a tournament, but Tiger being in contention and winning is the best-case scenario," Adgate said.

While Woods is linked to ratings increases, whether his return will jumpstart golf participation and a rise in sales is another question.

Analyst: Nike Exit Accounts For Some Of Club Sales Decline

Woods' return will have zero impact on the golf business, said Matt Powell, a sports industry analyst at NPD Group. 

The golfer's decline led Nike Inc (NYSE: NKE) to stop manufacturing golf club equipment in 2016. It was a segment built solely on Woods. This opened Woods up to other sponsors in the equipment business; he signed with TaylorMade for clubs and Bridgestone for golf balls.

Nike’s departure from golf clubs was a key indicator of new players entering the game, Powell said — and the company's exit accounted for 13 percent of the total decline in golf club sales. 

Bridgestone Golf CEO Angel llagan was enthusiastic about the uptick his company has seen since signing Woods to a golf deal. 

"His endorsement alone increases our sales 30 percent, even if he's not playing," llagan told CNBC last week.

Masters Champion Reed left Callway Golf Co (NYSE: ELY) and signed with Nike earlier in the year, and said the ability to play with the clubs of his choosing was a factor in his success at Augusta.

“Doing a deal with Nike on the apparel side frees me up to use whatever clubs I want," Reed told CNBC on Monday. "I put 14 clubs in the golf bag that are a good fit for me; it was a risk, but its was the right risk.”

Related Links:

The Money Behind The Masters

Nike's 10-Q: What You Need To Know

Latest Ratings for CBS

Jan 2019Moffett NathansonUpgradesNeutralBuy
Jan 2019Stephens & Co.UpgradesEqual-WeightOverweight
Nov 2018Goldman SachsInitiates Coverage OnNeutral

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