Masters Final Round Ratings Plummet 51%, Lowest Since 1957

The final round of this years Masters Tournament at Augusta National was not exactly the most exciting thing to watch and the ratings reflect that. 

It should be noted that this was the first time that the Masters went up against NFL football on Sunday, and college football on Saturday. 

Final Round Ratings Plummet

Sunday’s final round of the Masters averaged a 3.4 rating and 5.59 million viewers on CBS, marking the lowest rated Sunday at Augusta since 1957* (3.0) and the least-watched on record, according to Dr. Jon Lewis of Sports Media Watch. 

Dustin Johnson’s win sank 51% in ratings and 48% in viewership from Tiger Woods’ win last year, which aired in an even earlier time slot (9 a.m. rather than 10), but on the tournament’s usual April weekend (6.9, 10.81M). 

Compared to 2018, the last time the final round aired in its usual late afternoon window, ratings and viewership fell 57% from a 7.9 and 13.03 million.

Masters Day-by-Day Ratings Breakdown

On Saturday, going up against college football, Masters third round coverage averaged a 3.05 and 4.99 million — down 45% in ratings and 42% in viewership from last year (5.5, 8.73M) and down 42% and 39% respectively from 2018 (5.3, 8.14M). 

It was the lowest rated Saturday at the tournament since 1957 (1.2).

Friday’s second round averaged a 1.8 and 2.74 million on ESPN, down 22% in ratings and 14% in viewership from last year (2.3, 3.20M), down 31% and 30% respectively from 2018 (2.6, 3.90M) and the least-watched since 2017 (2.60M).

ESPN averaged a 0.55 and 767,000 for the conclusion of the first round on Friday morning and a 0.95 and 1.45 million for the conclusion of the second round on Saturday morning. 

ESPN’s College GameDay, which took place from the site of the Masters, averaged a season-high 1.71 million immediately following Saturday’s bonus coverage.

Still Highest Ratings in Golf 

Despite the sharp decline, the Masters still received the highest ratings and viewership in 2020 for golf. 

The Masters beat the final round of the PGA Championship, which posted a 3.3 and 5.15 million in August. 

The U.S. Open in September saw final round ratings plunge 55% to a 2.0 and viewership 56% to 3.21 million. 

Sports Ratings Down Across All Platforms 

Golf and the Masters are not the only sports that saw ratings plummet. Every other league did as well, perhaps just not as sharply. 

 The NBA Finals (7.49M) and World Series (9.79M) both set all-time record lows in viewership, declining 49 and 30 percent from last year. 

Stanley Cup Final viewership plunged 61% to a 13-year low (2.15M). 

All three Triple Crown horse races hit lows, with each down at least 32%.

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