Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Ryder Cup wrap

The final tallies are in and the Ryder Cup television audience seems like it may have come in just a shade under the promised billion.
In America, where NBC Sports had exclusive live broadcast rights, ratings figures for the competition peaked on the final day – Sunday, September 24 – at less than 4m viewers. This was 20% fewer than in 2004 when the competition was held in America, and almost a third less than 2002 when it was played in England.

The figures were slightly higher on the Saturday, when NBC scored a 3.2 Nielsen rating, the equivalent of 4.6m viewers, for deferred coverage. But this was also down 18% on live coverage in 2004, and down 22% from 2002.

… Live broadcasts from the K Club were watched on Sky Sports by a total of 600,000 Irish viewers, though that does not include audiences in pubs and clubs. Some 206,000 watched highlights of the European team's victory on Sunday night on RTE 2, the highest audience the national broadcaster achieved for its nightly highlights package.

In the UK, live coverage on Sky Sports averaged 811,000 viewers over the three days of the event, peaking at 1.1m on the Sunday afternoon. In 2004, when the event was held in America and coverage started several hours later, the British TV audience peaked at 1.4m as Colin Montgomerie holed the winning putt for Europe.

The last Ryder Cup failed to make the 15 most-watched world sporting events in a global survey of 57 major TV markets, accounting for 90% of television households worldwide.
But, hey you know what? The organizers raked in the cash.
More than €50m was grossed from corporate hospitality alone at The K Club and that extremely conservative estimate based on an average cost of €1,500 per day for each of the 8,000 executive guests who crammed the dining suites on the golf course.

... Ordinary spectators pitched more than €12.5m into the Ryder Cup kitty for their tickets and a torrent of cash flowed through the 30 tills in the merchandising area each day as Irish and American fans went on a massive spending spree.

... All of this pushes gross income over the €87m mark and when broadcasting rights and other sources of finance are factored in, that figure will rise well above €100m.
Thank God the government was on hand to over hype the Ryder Cup. They might have grossed only €90m if not for the government's help.