No Tiger, No Ratings: ESPN’s Masters First Round Viewership Nosedives

If you need further proof to the star power Tiger Woods brings to the game of golf, look no further than ESPN’s overnight TV ratings for their Round 1 coverage of the Masters. In 2013, the network’s Thursday coverage carried 2.8 million people; in 2014 it carried 2 million – a nearly 30% decrease.

According to For The Win, even though Tiger wasn’t prominently featured in ESPN’s 2013 telecast, addition of Woods is enough to drive viewership. With him in the tournament, announcers still have a talking point, storyline and can pull highlights.

FTW notes that ESPN normally pulls in between “2.4 and 3.4 million” viewers for Round 1. The numbers for 2014 are ESPN’s lowest in the seven years it has broadcast the Masters.

With the scandal, the slump and the quest for 19, there’s still no more compelling figure in golf than Tiger Woods.