Ratings for the Masters golf tournament plunged this year as the broadcast faced competition for viewers from NFL games for the first time.
SportsMediaWatch reported Tuesday that the 2020 Masters was the lowest-watched since at least 1995, as far back as records exist, while ratings were the lowest since 1957. Viewership for the final round was down 48 percent compared to last year.
Last year’s tournament, won by Tiger Woods, was held during its traditional period in April while this year’s was postponed until November due to the coronavirus pandemic. Dustin JohnsonDustin (Dusty) JohnsonMasters ratings plunge to lowest in decades The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by UAE – US records 1 million COVID-19 cases in a week; governors crack down The Hill’s Morning Report – Sponsored by Facebook – Barrett touts independence to sidestep confirmation questions MORE won this year’s tournament.
The poor viewership follows similar performances by the NBA Finals and the World Series, which both saw double-digit viewership percentage drops over last year. The U.S. Open also dropped 55 percent over last year’s viewership, according to SportsMediaWatch.
U.S. sports leagues have been thrown into chaos by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The NFL, NBA and other sports leagues moved to delay parts or all of their seasons this year due to the pandemic, and have only semi-recently begun hosting matches in many cases with few or no fans in attendance.
Leagues have also had to contend with the danger of players or coaching staff being exposed to the virus; recent weeks have seen games both at the professional and collegiate levels postponed or cancelled after numerous players and staff tested positive for the disease.