ESPN’s PGA Championship First Round Telecast Earns Largest Viewership in 20 Years


ESPN’s PGA Championship First Round Telecast Earns Largest Viewership in 20 Years

Average Audience of 1.5 Million is Largest Since 2002 – Peaks at 1.7 Million

Alternate Telecast with Joe Buck, Michael Collins and Guests averages 684,000 Viewers in First Hour

ESPN’s live telecast of the opening round of the PGA Championship on Thursday, May 19, from Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla., averaged 1.5 million viewers, the largest first-round viewership for the tournament in 20 years.

The telecast, which aired from 2-8 p.m. ET, peaked at 1.7 million viewers at 4:45 p.m. The average viewership was up 23 percent from the first round of last year’s tournament from Kiawah Island, S.C., which averaged 1.2 million viewers. The audience was the largest since TNT’s first round telecast in 2002 averaged 1.8 million viewers

The debut of the new alternate telecast hosted by Joe Buck and Michael Collins averaged 684,000 viewers in its first hour on ESPN (1-2 p.m. ET), which was an 80 percent increase in viewership for the one-hour timeslot prior to PGA Championship coverage last year. The alternate telecast averaged 96,000 viewers between 2-5 p.m. on ESPN2.

Top reported local markets for the Thursday’s full telecast with metered market rating:

Las Vegas 1.4
Atlanta 1.3
Phoenix 1.3
Jacksonville 1.2
Boston 1.2
Orlando 1.1
Washington, DC 1.1
Pittsburgh 1.0
Charlotte 1.0
Greensboro 1.0

Streaming coverage of Featured Holes and Featured Groups (highlighted by the Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth group) during the first round on ESPN+ led to the most-viewed day of PGA Championship play ever on the industry-leading sports streaming service.

ESPN’s PGA Championship coverage continues Saturday and Sunday with live coverage of the third and fourth rounds on ESPN+ (8 a.m.) and ESPN (10 a.m.). ESPN+ also will have Featured Groups and Featured Holes streams all day.

The alternate telecast with Buck, Collins and guests will air both Saturday and Sunday from 9-10 a.m. on ESPN and ESPN+ and from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. on ESPN+.

In addition, SportsCenter and will report from the PGA Championship throughout the weekend.


Media contact: [email protected]

Andy Hall

My main responsibility is PR/Communications for ESPN’s news platforms including the Enterprise/Investigative Unit, the E60 program and SportsCenter. In addition, I’m the PR contact for ESPN’s Formula 1 coverage, golf majors (the Masters and PGA Championship) and TGL golf. I’m based in Daytona Beach, Fla., and have been with ESPN since 2006.
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