The new-look Golf Channel has been making the most of its NBC Sports affiliation, as the cable channel’s coverage of the WGC-Cadillac Championship drew record ratings.
Thursday’s opening-round play delivered an aggregate 1.12 million viewers, as 725,000 viewers tuned in for live coverage from 2-6:30 p.m., while another 397,000 fans caught up with Golf Channel’s prime-time rebroadcast (8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.).
When taken together, the first stage was the most-watched in the Doral event’s 23-year TV history.
Friday’s action also swung a heavy three wood, drawing 744,000 live viewers and another 236,000 in time delay. For the first two rounds, Golf Channel averaged 1.06 million viewers, marking the best two-day average for the event since USA Network delivered 1.09 million viewers back in 2002.
As coverage shifted to NBC for the final two rounds, the broadcaster got a boost from a resurgent Tiger Woods. Recording a six-under 66 during Sunday’s round, Woods seemed to recapture his magic touch. Hitting most of his fairway and greens shots, Woods on Sunday matched his lowest single-round score of the 2011 campaign.
The final round coverage on NBC (3:09-7 p.m.), which has been rebranded “Golf Channel on NBC,” averaged 3.32 million viewers, up 14 percent from last year’s 2.86 million.
NBC Sports in February began incorporating the Golf Channel brand throughout its PGA Tour coverage, a visual synthesis that includes the placement of Golf Channel graphics and a newly minted Golf Channel-NBC Peacock combination logo.
Per Nielsen, Golf Channel averaged 155,000 total viewers in prime during the week ended March 13. Of these, roughly a third (50,000) were members of the 25-54 demo. Golf’s nightly deliveries improved on its total year average for 2010 (121,000) by 28 percent.