Australian golf's majors a ratings and attendance smash hit - PGA of Australia

Australian golf’s majors a ratings and attendance smash hit

The ISPS HANDA Australian Open and the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship have rounded off two exciting weeks for Australian golf, with Min Woo Lee’s wizardry driving huge ratings and attendance results.

The final day of both events were rating winners with both days significantly up on last year, headlined by a 187% increase on Free To Air Television for the Sunday of the ISPS HANDA Australian Open.

Lee’s Fortinet Australian PGA Championship victory at Royal Queensland and the drama of the men’s and women’s Australian Opens where Joaquin Niemann and Ashleigh Buhai prevailed at The Australian and The Lakes golf clubs proved a hit with crowds, with more than 110,000 spectators in attendance across the two championships. Both events were highlighted by the following statistics:

  • At home, TV viewership experienced significant growth across both tournaments, headlined by the dramatic last day of the Australian Open which delivered an average audience of 438,000 across the Nine Network television audience which was more than 187% up on last year, and more than 100,000 viewers on Foxtel which was the number one rated STV program for the day.
  • Fan experience was again at the forefront of both tournaments, with the Australian PGA Championship Southern Comfort Party Hole elevating itself again in 2023 and continuing to attract new fans resulting in 78% growth in hospitality & reserved seats sales
  • The Australian Open total crowds were up 12% on last year, with Sunday’s blockbuster alone delivering a 27% increase on last year’s final day crowd.

PGA of Australia CEO Gavin Kirkman said the figures were reflective of the groundswell of interest that golf is experiencing at every level and the thrilling nature of the golf being played at the highest level.

“The enormous galleries we saw fill the fairways at both events created an electric atmosphere that I have no doubt enhanced the viewing experience of those at home,” Mr Kirkman said.

“With our leading players such as Cameron Smith, Adam Scott, Min Woo Lee, Marc Leishman and Lucas Herbert bringing their best along with a wonderful mix of international visitors, the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia delivered compelling television.

“Both men’s fields were very strong and up year on year, something that Min Woo Lee has taken full advantage of after moving all the way up to number 35 in the world after his outstanding two weeks.

“The level of interest in the broadcast and following of the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia in the lead-up to the major events helped us set a platform for these two outstanding weeks, and we can’t wait to capitilise on these results for the remainder of the 2023/24 season, particularly with five co-sanctioned events between the men’s and women’s Tours.

“I don’t think anyone will forget Min Woo’s chip-in on the last day at Royal Queensland and both men’s and women’s Australian Open championships came down to the very last putt on the 72nd hole.”

In the second year of a united format that crowns an Australian Open champion for men, women and All Abilities, Golf Australia CEO, James Sutherland, was ecstatic to see viewership surpass the numbers of 2022.

“We set a high benchmark at Victoria and Kingston Heath last year but the Sydney fans who flooded into The Australian and The Lakes over the past week were nothing short of exceptional,” Mr Sutherland said.

“Certainly, in conjunction with the PGA of Australia and the DP World Tour, the quality of the fields have improved, 40 per cent better based on world rankings. We’re very grateful to be working with the PGA of Australia via the men’s and women’s Tours, and the DP World Tour, who helped us deliver one of the strongest fields in recent memory.

“It’s a fantastic result to see just shy of 58,000 golf fans in attendance over the two courses over the four days and certainly the atmosphere on Sunday when more than 18,000 were in the house was absolutely superb.

“Golf is being enjoyed by more Australians than ever before and the appetite to watch world-class golf either live or on TV continues to grow. That’s shown in the numbers domestically which show unprecedented growth across the whole tournament in a time where TV ratings are declining.

“It’s quite remarkable to think there were more than 400,000 watching on the Nine Network and more than 100,000 on Foxtel, along with a massive global audience via the DP World Tour’s broadcast partnerships.”

Photo: Gregg Porteous/Golf Australia

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