Masters tournament brings in record viewership
By: Joshua Strauss
April 24, 2023
Photo Credit: Associated Press
Nestled in the serene backdrop of the Georgia heartland sits one of the most prestigious and exclusive golf clubs in the country. Each year, the world’s best golfers descend on Augusta National in search of winning a coveted green jacket and a space amongst golf’s biggest legends. The Master’s, held on the second weekend of April each year, is unlike any other tournament in golf or sport.
The Master’s tournament, rooted in tradition, doesn’t feature the vociferous fan behavior commonplace at other sporting events, nor is the crowd engulfed in a sea of phones; fans lucky enough to attend must leave their phones at home to ensure the sanctity of the game is not impacted.
Augusta National is picturesque, the course is landscaped obsessively, and the commitment to its heritage has led the club to forgo, according to Forbes, $269 million each year. This sum is not a result of the inexpensive tickets or low concession prices. The Master’s tournament is broadcast on CBS and ESPN, who don’t pay for the rights to do so in exchange for ceding full editorial control over the broadcast to Augusta National. In addition, Forbes notes that Augusta’s small group of six sponsors share just four minutes of commercial time per hour, much lower than the industry average.
In addition to maintaining the ability to uphold its tradition, Peter Laatz, the global managing director of IEG, notes, “Augusta National wants to keep the mystique and uniqueness surrounding the tournament in place.” This strategy has proven successful, with golf digest reporting that the Master’s merchandise shop brings in a reported $850,000 an hour during the tournament.
The allure of the Masters wasn’t lost on at-home viewers, with CBS announcing that the third round and final round brought in a total viewership of 16.251 million viewers. John Rahm’s dominant final round also averaged 12.058 million viewers, more than any other golf broadcast over the last five years.