CBS Sports sees impressive John Deere Classic numbers despite July 4th holiday weekend

Despite the July 4th holiday falling on a Thursday, leading to many days away for millions of Americans over the weekend, CBS Sports drew record ratings for the John Deere Classic.

Sunday’s final round, which saw Davis Thompson win his first PGA Tour title, averaged 2.102 million viewers—a 32% increase from a year ago, when Sepp Straka came from behind with an impressive 9-under 62 to win by two.

Thompson, meanwhile, won by four and held a commanding lead for almost the entire final round. Yet, despite the wide margin, CBS Sports delivered its most-watched John Deere Classic since 2015, when Jordan Spieth won this event for the second time. That final round drew 3.4 million, per Josh Carpenter of Sports Business Journal. Spieth’s victory that year also came three weeks after his U.S. Open title at Chambers Bay. Spieth narrowly missed out on a playoff at St. Andrew’s at The Open the following week—he was, without a doubt, the biggest story in golf that season.

This year, CBS’ audience peaked at 2.862 million during the 5:00 p.m. ET hour Paramount+, the streaming service for CBS Sports, also had its most-streamed John Deere Classic ever—impressive statistics given that the tournament had already been decided.

But more storylines arose in the Quad Cities outside of Thompson’s dominant win. Rising star Michael Thorbjornsen and Luke Clanton, an amateur from Florida State who has exceeded expectations, each carded 8-under 63s on Sunday to tie for second. Eric Cole, another PGA Tour fan favorite known for his durability and easy-going attitude, tied for seventh.

Nevertheless, this past week’s John Deere Classic marks the third straight event in which the network saw a year-over-year rating increase—a stark departure from the beginning of the season when ratings did not see much growth from 2023. Still, this news is a positive development for professional golf as fans continue to tune in.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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