In not so surprising news, Golf Channel and NBC saw record numbers during their coverage of the 2018 Open Championship. There is a very easy explanation for this: Tiger Woods.
Woods was not only in contention on Sunday, he led the tournament for a while on the back nine.
The first round of The Open on Thursday, which earned a 0.79 overnight rating, was the most watched in its three years on Golf Channel. It was also the most-watched Thursday ever, and the fifth best total day record for the channel between 2006 and 2018. To make things even more impressive, Golf Channel was the number one rated cable sports network for the day by 9%, and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern it was the number one cable sports network by 314%.
Friday coverage of the second round was just as impressive, earning a 0.87 overnight rating. The early round coverage was up 4% over 2017, and was up 11% for the day, making it the most-watched weekday broadcast since the 2016 Ryder Cup Friday.
The third round on Saturday earned a 3.0 overnight rating, which was up 25% over 2017. It was the highest third round rating since 2013 when Phil Mickelson won, and the second highest overnight rating in a major in 2018 (the Masters leads that category). TV viewership was up 21% over 2017, and streaming viewership was up 23% over 2017.
The final round on Sunday is where things get even more impressive and show just how much Tiger Woods being in contention on Sunday in a major means to the sport. Sure Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy were in the hunt, but Tiger moves the needle.
NBC Sports’ final round coverage saw the best ratings for The Open Championship in 18 years with a 5.0 overnight rating. It is the highest final round overnight rating since Tiger completed the career grand slam in 2000 (which earned a 7.4 overnight rating on ABC). NBC’s coverage was also up a staggering 38% over 2017 when Jordan Spieth won at Royal Birkdale. This was the highest rated final round for any major championship since 2015, not including the Masters, when Jason Day’s win at Whistling Straights in the PGA Championship earned a 5.1.
Tiger Woods is back, and fans of the sport aren’t the only ones who are happy. NBC Sports could not have asked for a better weekend.