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The Masters Media Deal
The Masters has one of the most unique media arrangements in sports.
Every Monday, I write a newsletter breaking down the business in golf. Welcome to the 51 new Perfect Putt members who have joined us since our last newsletter. Join 6,442 intelligent and curious golfers by subscribing below.
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Masters week is excellent for many reasons. But one thing that really gets me going is convincing myself I will win the DraftKings Millionaire Maker or hit a big outright bet contest.
I had a good run in 2019 but fell short. The Tour Junkies provided me with the information I needed that week to select my golfers. I know I'll be listening to their podcast again this week, and I recommend you do the same.
DB and Pat started Tour Junkies in 2015 and are on a heater this year. They have hit four outright betting winners in 2023.
Max Homa at 25/1 — Farmers
Chris Kirk at 35/1 — Honda
Taylor Moore at 50/1 — Valspar
Sam Burns at 50/1 — Dell Match Play
Most of the Tour Junkies PGA Tour betting and DFS content is free, and they've built up quite the DISCORD (The Nut Hut) with over 1,000 members.
Get all your Masters betting and DFS info below.
Hey Golfers —
CBS has broadcast the weekend rounds of the Masters since 1956 — reportedly on one-year contracts. The partnership between CBS and the Masters is one of the longest-tenured in all of sports.
The Masters commands TV viewership.
In 2022 the Masters saw an average of 10.17 million viewers during the final round and peaked at 13.16 million viewers in the final hour.
2022 U.S. Open final round viewership — 5.41 million viewers
2022 PGA Championship final round viewership — 5.27 million viewers
2022 Open Championship final round viewership — 4.73 million viewers
Since 1997 the Masters has averaged 13.32 million viewers during the final round. The highest year in that period was 1997 — Tiger’s first Masters win saw a final-round viewership of 20.26 million.
It’s often said Tiger Woods is the needle — and it’s true. His five Masters wins have resulted in a 22% viewership increase versus when he doesn’t win.
What does the media deal with CBS and ESPN look like?
According to a Forbes piece — the Masters is leaving hundreds of millions of dollars on the table.
It is estimated that the Masters brings in around $25 million in revenue for its international media deal — but they bring in $0 for its domestic media deal. The Masters opts to pass on revenue from ESPN and CBS in exchange for complete control of the broadcast.
The Masters has no sponsor signage on Augusta National and has limited partnerships.
In contrast to other major sporting events, the Masters runs limited commercials — four minutes per hour. And for a period of two years in the early 2000s, they didn’t run any commercials at all. The partners cover the production costs of ESPN and CBS.
So how much could a media deal be worth?
The USGA signed a 12-year deal with FOX in 2013 valued at $1.1 billion — $93 million per year to cover the U.S. Open. At the time, the deal represented a 150% increase over the prior contract. FOX exited the agreement with the USGA early and paid $320 million.
The 2022 final round of the Masters ranked 47th in most watched sporting events of 2022 — excluding NFL games. Just edging out the United States vs. Wales World Cup match.
Looking at the FOX contract with the USGA as a benchmark and the sporting events of 2022 — it is easy to believe that the Masters could receive well north of $100 million per year in a domestic media deal. But the Masters wants to provide the best viewing experience possible — and that means limited commercial interruptions.
Outside of creating an incredible TV viewing experience — the Masters has the best app in sports. And you could argue that it is one of the best apps ever created.
In partnership with IBM — the Masters has taken innovation to a new level with its app. The magic takes place in the Masters Content Center. IBM consultants sit side by side with the Masters Digital Team.
Every swing creates more than 30 data points, and lasers record every shot's x,y, and z. Over 100 cameras capture every shot from every player in the field. Data from over 20,000 shots will be captured throughout the tournament.
The best part about the app? It’s free.
Could the Masters make hundreds of millions in a media deal? Yes. Could the Masters monetize their app? Yes.
But the Masters strongly believes in the fan's viewing experience — and they do it better than anyone.
Have yourself a great Monday. Talk to you next week!
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