A change in time slot for the NFL playoffs caused viewership for the final round of the Sony Open in Hawaii this month to plunge by 49% from 2019.
Meanwhile, Hawaii’s other year-opening PGA Tour event, the Sentry Tournament of Champions on Maui, attracted its largest final-round cable audience since 2016, according to figures from Sports Media Watch and ShowBuzz Daily.
The Jan. 12 finish to the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club on the Golf Channel averaged 282,000 viewers despite the one-hole playoff won by Cameron Smith over Brendan Steele. The 2019 and ’18 final rounds attracted 545,000 and 524,000.
A key factor was the competition from the Seattle Seahawks-Green Bay Packers NFC Divisional playoff game that occupied much of the same time window. Sony coverage began at 1 p.m., while the Seahawks-Packers game started at 1:40 p.m.
In 2019 the overlap was less, with the NFC game beginning at 11:40 a.m. and the Sony Open starting at 1 p.m.
Justin Thomas’ three-hole playoff victory over Patrick Reed and Xander Schauffele on Jan. 5 at Kapalua averaged 634,000 viewers on the Golf Channel, up 25% from 2019 and the most since 797,000 tuned in during 2016.