The international team took a beating in the opening day foursomes matches at the 2022 Presidents Cup, but the day was bloodless for the PGA Tour’s marquee team property and its nine-figure media partner, NBC Sports/Golf Channel.
The five Thursday team matches drew an average of just 760,000 viewers, and a .09 rating in the 18-49 demo for the 3.5-hour telecast on Golf Channel. That’s effectively even with the last iteration’s opening match viewership from Royal Melbourne in December of 2019, which averaged 762,000 viewers. But that first round was played in Wednesday primetime in the USA and drew a .52 rating in the key demographic. Those matches, of course, featured the biggest star in golf, Tiger Woods as player-captain. And while because of the time difference, those matches aired in primetime on the east coast, they were up against NFL Thursday night football and an NBA doubleheader on TNT.
The team scores are reversed this year, with the United States team taking a 4-1 lead into the second day, while in 2019, it was the international team that led 4-1 after the opening day fourball matches. Last time around, it was only Woods and his partner Justin Thomas that secured a point on the first day for the United States. Significantly, Woods and Thomas’s opponents that day, Mark Leishman and Joaquin Niemann, are not members of the international team this year, as both have joined the LIV Golf tour, and have been prohibited from appearing in the PGA Tour-run exhibition event.
This year’s Thursday audience was down 5% from the 803,000 viewers that turned in the last time the Presidents Cup was hosted in the United States, in September of 2017 at Liberty National Golf Club.
The broadcast rights to the Presidents Cup are held by Comcast/NBC Sports Group as part of a nine-year deal announced in March of 2020 that runs through 2030. Financial terms were not announced, but have been reported to be worth approximately $700 million per year.
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