ORLANDO, Fla. – With the latest Nielsen data pointing to last month as the most-watched May ever for Golf Channel, viewership for the network is off to its best start in its 17-year history.
Coming off its best year ever in 2011, Golf Channel continues to build on its momentum with a strong start to 2012. Based upon five-plus quarters of growth since becoming part of the NBC Sports Group, Golf Channel is the fastest-growing network on cable (among networks serving 80 million or more U.S. homes). Through May, average viewers are up 20 percent over 2011 and 52 percent over the same time period two years ago. Four out of five months in the books so far this year — and the last consecutive four months — have set a “most-watched” record for that month.
Month – % Increase vs. 2011 – % Increase vs. 2010
February – Most-Watched Ever – 19% – 70%
March – Most-Watched Ever – 28% – 105%
April – Most-Watched Ever – 14% – 34%
May – Most-Watched Ever – 33% – 26%
TOURNAMENT COVERAGE GOING STRONG: PGA TOUR coverage on Golf Channel is up 19 percent over this time last year. Early round telecasts of every PGA TOUR event in May scored an all-time Golf Channel best for at least one round:
• Wells Fargo Championship Round One (0.9 household rating /907,000 average viewers) was the most-watched first round of this event since 2005 (including 2 years on USA Network and 5 years on Golf Channel). The round also was up 63 percent over last year.
• THE PLAYERS Round Two (1.8/1,804,000) was the most-watched early round for the event on record (including 5 years on USA Network, 7 years on ESPN, and 5 years on Golf Channel) and up 86 percent over 2011. This contributed to the most-watched week of THE PLAYERS in the history of Golf Channel, which included the network’s signature Live From news coverage.
• HP Byron Nelson Championship Round Two (0.7/708,000) also was the highest-rated and most-watched early round at this event since 2005 (including 2 years on USA Network and 5 years on Golf Channel) and up 34 percent over last year.
• Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Round Two (0.7/700,000) was the highest-rated and most-watched of any early rounds of this event since 2005 (including 2 years on USA Network and 5 years on Golf Channel).
Viewership for the LPGA Tour and European Tour on Golf Channel is up over last year and up 26 percent and 79 percent, respectively, over 2010.
NON-TOURNAMENT PROGRAMMING UP: Tournament coverage on Golf Channel also has been complemented by news, instruction and original entertainment, all of which are up over the same time period last year and significantly over two years ago:
% Increase vs. 2011 – % Increase vs. 2010
Originals – Monday Primetime – 64% – 41%
Golf Central – 25% – 105%
Morning Drive – 36% – 160%
Instruction – 12% – 31%
MAY MOST-WATCHED: Golf Channel averaged 112,000 viewers per day during May, spurred by compelling PGA TOUR coverage and strong performances from the network’s original entertainment series:
• The second episode of Big Break Atlantis (May 21) was the highest-rated and most-watched (0.3/349,000) original entertainment program in primetime this year and of any Big Break Episode Two in four years.
• The Feherty episode featuring guest Donald Trump (0.2/215,000) was the highest-rated Feherty premiere this season. The series has bolstered the network’s primetime Monday lineup of original shows, which is up 64 percent over 2011.
DIGITAL KEEPS PACE: GolfChannel.com continues to attract new users in 2012, with page views up 41 percent and unique users up 58 percent so far this year over last year. Page views for the site’s mobile application are up 368 percent over 2011.