Finchem Happy With PGA Tour
By Kickntrue on 9/22/10
Overall, PGA Tour Commish Tim Finchem is pretty happy with how the 2010 went- especially considering the down economy.
Finchem painted an optimistic picture Tuesday of the tour, noting its cumulative TV audience — number of viewers who tune in to a PGA Tour at any point during a tournament — was down only 2 percent despite Tiger Woods not playing the first three months of the season. And despite a weakened economy, the tour has signed or renewed some 18 title sponsors since 2009.

But when asked about being "happy" with how well everything appears to be going, Finchem added some context to the situation.

"We're pleased that we're competing. We're not falling backward when we're in a difficult environment," Finchem said. "On the other hand, you would much prefer to grow. We'd much prefer the growth levels that we had for charitable contributions in the three years before 2008 than bumping along with very slight growth. And the same thing with financial benefits to players.
It should be noted that there are most likely going to be 3 or 4 events scheduled for 2011 that will be without title sponsors. That is not to poo-poo on Finchem's comments, but it's a fact that even Finchem acknowledges.

I suppose as a fan I'm happy to know the Tour is doing okay despite the economy, though as a "normal person" dealing with the economy on a personal level, it's tough to care too much. I'm sure you're not going to drum up any mass sympathy for millionaire athletes losing any money. It seems Finchem and the PGA Tour understand this- so I think it's good that he delivered a positive message.

If you read the whole article- there is an interesting portion where Finchem argues that Tiger Woods doesn't bring in the core golf fan, but the "extras." I'm not sure I totally agree with him but I suppose 2011 will start to tell that story. My suspicion is that viewership will go down significantly in 2011 if Tiger struggles. I think 2010 had a lot of "curiosity" viewers, and now that those are gone, it's going to be about winning again. As much as I'm tied to the sport, I have to admit I watched much less golf this year than previously- and it had 100% to do with Tiger's lack of performance. I just can't help but think more people are like me.

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[ comments ]
mjaber says:
I'd have to agree with Finchem that Tiger brings in the extras. I don't know that there is a parallel in sports to draw from. Without Tiger, though, I think what you have, as far as TV viewership, is Tennis. The only people watching are going to be those that are interested in the sport, and that's just not good for ratings.
Banker85 says:
Ya I KIND of agree as well. Tiger does bring in the extras but how many of those extras become "real" fans and not just extras anymore? I bet a lot, so ya he brings in extras but he also brings in the new viewers who fall in love with the game like a lot of us here have. If it were not for Tiger i dont know if i would even like golf, but now i am on here everyday(becasue i love oob, not Tiger) I agree if Tiger does not perform well in 2011 we will see a big drop off in ratings.
birdieXris says:
I'll 3rd or 4th, whatever, that Tiger brings in the EXTRAS and that golf will still have a core base when all is said in done. What i will say on top of that, is that those "extras" probably account for Millions of dollars at events. Actually, i wont' even say "probably" there. They do. Say 1000 extra people show up to a tournament because tiger is playing. That's easily $20,000 on admission alone. Now those 1000 buy a beer and a dog, that's another $10,000. and we all KNOW that is a very low number compared to what he actually brings in. People may not care about the Center ring at the circus, but they all will pay the 10 cents to see the freakshow.
cjgiant says:
I think Tiger did bring in the extras, and agree some came back for the "curiosity". But I think most of America is getting over Tiger. That is to say, the golf fans among us have moved on to the next generation (McIlroy, DJ, Bubba, etc.) to hold our attention when we don't have Tiger or Phil.

Although there will probably still be some extra interest, I don't think the casual watcher will be rushing back just to see Tiger. They've seen he's human (off and on the course); they've noticed others can hit it as far as him; they probably didn't appreciate his skill around the greens. I think unless he nears Jack's record, he is not going to drive the tour to renewed heights.

I also don't think any of us will be crying foul if the PGA pros end up taking a "pay cut" from the heights they have gained (thanks to Tiger, mainly).
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