Take a Swing
You often hear about the “Big Four” of professional sports (football, baseball, basketball and hockey), but when it comes to the sheer amount of programming content throughout the entire calendar year, nothing quite matches the game of golf. And, while viewers can readily find tournament golf on several cable networks (such as ESPN, FOX Sports One and TNT), there is one cable network in particular that carries an astonishing amount of golf.
You guessed it: the Golf Channel, which (on average) aired 44 hours a week of tournament golf in 2016 (both original and re-airings.) Add to that another 4 hours a week from several other cable networks, and you get the idea: somewhere around the globe, it’s always tee time:
Golf Channel’s Upscale Profile
To some degree, there has been a certain level of democratization for the game of golf – spurred on, perhaps, by one of the greatest golfers in modern times (Tiger Woods) who learned the game – not at some swanky country club – but on public golf courses. But when it comes to watching the game of golf on television (especially Golf Channel), the audience is decidedly upscale.
Below we’ve broken out the Golf Channels’ Live U.S. Household ratings by income classification. The most upscale homes (with incomes of $250,000+) achieve ratings that are 51% higher (150.6 Index) than the average American home:
Local Cable Advertising
Local cable advertising support for golf has been very strong over the past two years in which 400+ clients have ordered nearly 13,000 spots across 57 Viamedia markets (75% of our national footprint.) That comes to an average of 16 spots per client (per calendar year.)
(Source: B.I.G.SM database — Copyright © 2017 by Viamedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved)
Given the year-round coverage of golf on cable, we find advertising activity throughout the year, starting with 15% of all spots ordered in the first quarter, and then accelerating from there, reaching a peak in the third quarter (39%), before dropping off in the fourth quarter:
In terms of local cable advertising categories, it is no surprise that Automotive captures nearly one-half of all expenditures on golf programming. The second highest category is Sporting & Outdoor Recreation Goods (29% share), which is significantly higher than the 1% – 2% share this category normally accrues company-wide. What’s driving this ad category to such heights? In short, everything golf related, including local golf courses, golf sporting stores, golf clubs and professional golf tournaments:
Year Round Golf on Cable
Full disclosure: I watch a lot of golf on TV. Why? Because a cranky, stiff lower back and the sheer frustration of poor putting sent me to the couch years ago. And that’s where I am right now as I write this blog with a warm mid-April sun laying to rest the last vestiges of winter. But I doubt our New York Tri-State Area local duffers missed that much golf over the past several months. Somewhere in the world it’s always summer and a golf tournament to be found on cable TV… enough video content to satisfy the most inveterate golf fans, as well as local advertisers who want to reach this very upscale cable audience.
Written by Jonathan Sims
VP Media Research, Viamedia