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ESPN Sets Digital Viewership Records for Masters First Round

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Golf fans were streaming ESPN’s live telecast of Round 1 of the Masters Tournament on Thursday, April 7, in record fashion on WatchESPN.

Thursday’s telecast marked the most-viewed Masters Round 1 ever on WatchESPN, with an average minute audience of 40,100 and 10.8 million total minutes viewed, both up three percent from 2015.

On television, the Masters Round 1 telecast earned a 1.7 rating, averaging 2.398 million viewers, according to Nielsen Fast National numbers. The rating and viewership were higher than the 1.5 rating and average audience of 2.006 million earned by ESPN for Round 1 in 2014, the last time Tiger Woods did not play.

With Woods in the field last year, ESPN earned a 2.2 rating, averaging 3.218 million viewers, the largest audience and highest rating for Round 1 since the record-setting 2010 telecast. The 2010 Masters first-round telecast on ESPN earned a 3.4 rating and averaged 4.936 million viewers, the second-largest golf audience ever on cable.

Thursday’s telecast peaked from 5:30-6pm with a 2.0 rating and 2.736 million viewers.

Minneapolis-St. Paul was the highest rated local market for Thursday’s telecast with a 3.2 rating, followed by Charlotte, N.C., and Buffalo, tied at 3.0; and West Palm Beach, Fla., and Norfolk, Va., at 2.9.

Rounding out the top 10 were Columbus, Ohio, and San Diego, 2.8; Raleigh-Durham, N.C., 2.7; and Louisville, Ky.,and Indianapolis,  2.6.

While ESPN’s live Masters coverage ends Friday, SportsCenter and ESPN.com will continue to report from the Masters throughout the weekend.

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