Global, TSN relishing Tiger bump

The image-tarnished linksman is expected to lift ratings upon return to the Masters, a move that has inventory 'moving briskly,' Global says.

The 2010 Masters Tournament stands to be a ratings bonanza for broadcasters on both sides of the border next month as golf’s biggest draw makes his return following a highly publicized sex scandal and four month absence.

Tiger Woods announced on Tuesday that he will play in the Masters, already golf’s highest-rated major tournament and now predicted to be one of the biggest television events of the year for Global, TSN and US broadcaster CBS.

‘Of course we’re anticipating a lift in the ratings,’ says Global spokesperson Deborah Lewis, adding that the publicity around Woods’ return is ‘the best promotion of the Masters you can ask for.’ Global has exclusive live coverage of the third and fourth rounds on April 10-11, though the network and CBS’ fortunes are hinged upon Woods making the final cut. Last year’s final two rounds of the Masters averaged nearly 900,000 viewers (2+) on Global.

The broadcaster on Wednesday indicated that advertising sales inventory is ‘moving briskly,’ and expected to sell out soon in light of Woods’ announcement. (There is a limited amount of commercial inventory during the Masters – only four minutes per hour as opposed to the usual 12 minutes.)

Meanwhile, TSN is guaranteed to show Woods as the sportscaster has live coverage of the first and second rounds, which falls on Thursday and Friday, while it also retained exclusive online rights.

‘[Woods' return] is obviously going to send the Masters to a new level, but if he doesn’t play well, the weekend coverage won’t be as big,’ TSN president Phil King says.

The sportscaster hadn’t completely sold out its inventory by Wednesday but King predicted it will be ‘fairly easy’ to move its last few spots. He also indicated that there were still advertising opportunities available on and within flagship newscast SportsCentre.

TSN will be streaming coverage of different holes online throughout the tournament, to complement the broadcast. The sportscaster also holds prime-time repeat rights for all four day.

From Playback Daily