Golf Channel on pace for record viewership in 2013

Golf Channel’s ratings continue to surge, and network executives say it is a combination of live tournament coverage and original programming that is already putting it on pace for its best year ever.

In fact, coming off 2012 as the most-watched year in its 18-year history, Golf Channel has brought that momentum into this year with its best first two months. The network said 123,000 average viewers per minute were tuned into Golf Channel in January and February, representing an 11-percent year-over-year increase compared to the same time period a year ago. Last month, Nielsen Company said Golf Channel served 15.96 million unique viewers.

“With rising stars, compelling competition and dramatic storylines emerging each week in both the men’s and women’s game, golf is off to a tremendous start in 2013,” Golf Channel President Mike McCarley said in a release. “Our investment in high-quality programming with the recent launches of Morning Drive 7 days a week and our Monday primetime lineup featuring Michael Phelps and David Feherty is paying off as our increasingly loyal viewers are responding in record numbers.”

McCarley said he has no plans to rest on the laurels of his network’s record ratings.

“We are looking forward to continuing this momentum into the spring, starting in March with the debut of In Play with Jimmy Roberts and some of the most anticipated PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour events of the year on both Golf Channel and NBC.”

According to the release sent out by Golf Channel, here are some of the shows that have driven the ratings increase:


On Monday, February 4, Morning Drive started in its new studio for its new schedule of 7 days a week at 7 am. Last week, during the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, the weekday average was 52,000, which was 30-percent more than the week prior to launch in late January 2013. Additionally, this past Saturday saw Morning Drive’s most-watched hour this year with 119,000 average viewers from 10-11 a.m. ET, helping garner 750,000 unique viewers for Morning Drive across the week of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship (Mon-Sun).


Golf Channel’s high-quality original programming got off to a golden start with season premieres featuring 18-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps and the “Golden Bear,” Jack Nicklaus. The Haney Project: Michael Phelps, which features famed golf coach Hank Haney helping Michael Phelps with his next goal of learning to play golf, scored 205,000 average viewers for its fifth season premiere, a 153-percent increase over The Haney Project’s 2012 premiere featuring a celebrity foursome including Adam Levine, Sugar Ray Leonard, Angie Everhart and Mario Batali.

Feherty, which features David Feherty’s interviews with icons from sports, pop culture and business, welcomed Hall-of-Famer Jack Nicklaus for the series’ third season premiere, which drew 194,000 average viewers, a 48-percent increase over the series’ 2012 premiere with Sergio Garcia.

“Golf Channel’s original programming is a testament to our laser focus on quality and The Haney Project and Feherty series premieres got the network off to a great start,” said McCarley. “Our Monday night line-up of original shows is a destination for the biggest names in sports, evident by Michael Phelps sharing his next chapter in life as he strives to master golf, and the irreverent and insightful David Feherty sitting down with the likes of Jack Nicklaus, one of the greatest golfers to ever play.”