Dick Friedman’s column sounds the proverbial death knell for the FedEx Cup (and probably even the Ryder Cup for that matter).
Such a figure bodes poorly for NBC’s return to the Tour over Labor Day weekend for the second FedEx Cup playoff event, the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston in Norton, Mass. (CBS will telecast the first FedEx event, the Barclays Championship, which Woods did not play in last year.) The Deutsche Bank — which last year featured Woods’s gripping Labor Day duel with eventual winner, Phil Mickelson — will be hard-pressed to approach ’07’s superb 3.4 final-round rating. Nor can NBC be optimistic about the other two FedEx events it carries, the BMW and the Tour Championship. With the possible exception of the Sept. 19-21 Ryder Cup (also on NBC), the Nielsens almost certainly will stay in the doldrums until Tiger’s expected return in 2009.
In the coming weeks, the FedEx Cup events will have the Herculean task of attracting fans to see if the current points leader, Kenny Perry, can seal the deal.
Of course, there’s almost always money at the high end: Crain’s Detroit Business reported a sellout for Oakland Hills’ corporate hospitality packages ranging from $37,500 for a 10-person table to $500,00 for a corporate chalet.
Yeah, and reportedly CEOs don’t mind the high price of gas either.
Bucking the ratings trend, the Orlando Sentinel reported that the Golf Channel has experienced 5% ratings growth this year for tournaments that Tiger was absent from in both 2007 and ’08. Maybe hardcore fans are looking for the stars of tomorrow. For TV’s sake, one of them better be named Tiger.
And if not, well, there’s always Kenny Perry.