TV Ratings, Ticket Sales Surge As Fans Clamor To See Woods End 5-Year Drought

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TV Ratings, Ticket Sales Surge as Fans Clamor to See Woods End 5-Year Drought

On Sunday evening, Tiger Woods ended a 5-year winless streak (’13 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational) with a two-stroke victory, finishing -11 under to take home the TOUR Championship (the final leg of the FedExCup Playoffs). NBC television ratings surged (Sunday’s final round was the highest-rated telecast in FedExCup history) as Tiger chased his 80th PGA Tour win; 2 victories behind the all-time leader Sam Snead. TOUR Championship ticket sales also received the Tiger bump (+170% YoY) last weekend, as fans scrambled to the East Lake Golf Club (Atlanta) to witness “the greatest comeback story in sports history.”

Howie Long-Short: NBC posted a 5.21 overnight rating (meaning 5.21% of all households in metered markets) on Sunday (round peaked at 7.1), representing an audience increase of +206% YoY; NBC also reported the number of minutes streamed (18.4 million) rose +521% YoY. While that would be a big number for most sporting events, it’s peanuts compared to the 13.6 rating the NFL’s Sunday night game (NE at Detroit) drew. Saturday’s 3rd round performed better on a head to head basis, beating every college football game on the slate (with 3.1 overnight rating) except Texas A&M at Alabama (3.5 rating).

While Woods will move the needle for television and ticket sales, he simply doesn’t do the same for golf equipment sales. Back in June ’17, Phil Knight said that despite Woods’ enormous success and popularity, Nike “lost money for 20 years on equipment and balls.” If he didn’t move equipment (apparel is a different story) for NKE in his prime – or at least enough to offset R&D costs -, he’s not going to for TaylorMade either (his current equipment provider).

Woods won the Tour Championship playing with Bridgestone Golf’s TOUR B XS ball. He averaged 304 yards off the tee, finishing 3rd in driving accuracy and 1st in putting average. Bridgestone Golf falls under the Bridgestone Corporation umbrella, best known for their rubber & tire business (world’s largest tire maker). Bridgestone Corp. recently reported operating income for H1 ’18 declined -1.4% (to $1.8 billion) despite net sales remaining flat (to $15.6 billion), a minimal growth from the company’s tire division was more than offset by a -40% YoY decline (to $78.8 million) in OI from its Diversified Products division. The Japan based company trades over the counter under the symbol BRDCY.

Fan Marino: Tiger Woods will lead team U.S.A (against Europe) in their quest to retain the Ryder Cup. The 42nd edition of the annual event will take place at Le Golf National (outside Paris), Friday-Sunday.

The greatest comeback story in sports history? Give me a break. Sure, Tiger managed to come all the way back from cheating on his wife to beat 29 other golfers in non-major (insert eye roll here), but as Ted Berg kindly reminded us, Mario Lemieux was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease in the middle of the ’92-‘93 NHL season. Following 2 months of radiation, he returned to the ice (on the same day as his last treatment) and still finished with 12 points (160) ahead of 2nd place (Pat Lafontaine). I don’t know, that sounds like the better story.

Fun Fact: With the win, Woods has now cleared more than $1 billion in career earnings.

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China Bans Twitch as Crackdown on Video Games, Internet Usage Continues

China has banned the use of the streaming service Twitch after the late August Asian Games drove a surge (23x) in the app’s downloads; gaming fans download the application to watch eSports competition that was not broadcast on state television (or domestic gaming livestreaming platforms). It’s been speculated that Chinese authorities are concerned with their inability to control the chat function within the Twitch service (as they can with their domestic competitors). Since the ban was implemented, it’s been confirmed that the Twitch app has been removed from the Chinese Apple App store and that access to the company’s website has been blocked in mainland China. While the site has risen to prominence in China over the last several weeks, competitors Douyu, YY and Huya all maintain “tens of millions of active monthly users”, far more than Twitch had accumulated.

Howie Long-Short: Last week, we noted that China’s Ministry of Education had recommended restricting the number of new video games released into the market, limits on internet usage, and an age-appropriate rating system for players, so it’s no surprise to see a wholesale ban placed on a Western video game streaming company. Of course, Twitch isn’t the first popular Western website/platform to be blocked by the Chinese authorities – YouTube, Facebook and Twitter also carry the distinction. Google isn’t banned, but has chosen not to operate in China for the last 8 years; the company is reportedly working on a censored search engine for use within the country.

China’s ban on Twitch is the country’s latest effort to control video gaming and dial back internet use, the perceived causes for the rising number of cases of myopia reported in minors. Back in August, when the government suspended the approval of all new games, Tencent’s market cap declined by $140 billion; TCEHY shares are down another -3.5% (opening at $41.79 on Tuesday) since the Twitch ban was implemented, but with the Chinese consumer already preferring to use alternative game streaming platforms (and thus never being reliant on Twitch), the company managed to avoid another double-digit percentage decline (in share price).

Fan Marino: Fortnite streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins built a following amongst gamers on the Twitch platform, but has now reached a level of fame that reaches far beyond the video game world. Just last week, ESPN The Magazine put “Ninja” on their oversized cover; the first professional gamer to receive that honor.

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What is JohnWallStreet?

JohnWallStreet, located at the intersection of sports and finance, is a destination for the educated sports fan.

While we won’t be publishing “hot takes” on LeBron’s relative greatness to Jordan, we will be offering up the most relevant sports related business news, in easily digestible bites, with commentary from both the sports money and sports fanatic perspectives.

We’ll cover publicly traded professional teams & stadiums (MSG, RCI, BATRA, MANU), television networks (DIS, FOXA, CMCSA, CBS, TWX, MSGN), apparel & footwear companies (NKE, UAA, ADDYY, FL, LULU), equipment companies (GOLFELY, FIT), ticketing companies (EBAY, LYV) content and facilities providers (CHDN, DVD, ISCA,TRK, LMCA).  If it trades on Wall Street, and has a sports angle, it’s in our wheel house.

Howie Long-Short and Fan Marino will be providing their expert opinions on each story. They have slightly different areas of expertise. Fan Marino is a firm believer that the SEC is the premier football conference. Howie Long-Short knows it as the Securities & Exchange Commission. Fan Marino lives and dies with the college selection of 5 star, blue chip recruits. Howie Long-Short spends his days analyzing blue chip stocks. Howie Long-Short knows that Black Monday occurred on October 19th, 1987. Fan Marino swears it happens every January after Week 17. You get the point.

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