Golf Channel is broadcasting the 2019 Presidents Cup from Melbourne, Australia and because of its location, the United States is getting a rare opportunity to see some live primetime golf.
Because it’s primetime and has the ability to attract a bigger audience, Golf Channel has loaded the broadcast with commercials and they have had so many commercials that people have noticed. Many commercials have been split screen, but it’s still an inconvenience, and it’s not just random Twitter users who are pointing this out. People who cover the sport like Golfweek’s Adam Woodard and former Vancouver Sun writer Brad Ziemer have tweeted about the multitude of commercials.
At one point on Wednesday, No Laying Up’s D.J. Piehowski determined that a one-hour portion of the broadcast consisted of 23 minutes worth of commercials, totaling 38 percent of the broadcast hour.
You're not imagining it. In that hour between 7-8 p.m. ET there was 23 mins of commercials. Almost 40% of the broadcast.
I don't even know/care whose fault that is, but this blowwwwwwwwwwws.
— D.J. Piehowski (@DJPie) December 12, 2019
There are times where networks will frontload or backload commercials in order to try and avoid showing commercials at crucial times, but 23 minutes is a lot, and viewers will definitely notice that there is way too many commercials at times.
One person who seemingly didn’t have a problem with that was Golf Channel producer Meghan Kuebler. She tried to defend her employer from the criticism and I completely understand that, but Kuebler didn’t really read the room when she tried to give Twitter an economics lesson and promptly got ratio’ed as a result.
It is funny how upset people get about commercials on TV…how do y'all think networks afford to keep the programing you want to watch??
— Meghan Kuebler (@meghan_kuebler) December 13, 2019
Look, The Masters and ESPN/CBS seem to do just fine showing less than five minutes of commercials per hour. And anyone who has ever broadcast a soccer game, including Golf Channel’s owner NBC Sports Group, seems to have figured out how to go more than 45 minutes without showing commercials and (I assume) they still make money off that.
Most people are aware that commercials are a revenue generator for a network and when it comes down to it, most people understand and are okay with the concept of showing commercials during a golf broadcast. That doesn’t mean fans have to take it if they feel there are too many commercials.
Choosing when to insert commercials during a sports broadcast is a strategy that can rival what goes on during the event. Front loading or back loading commercials may be smart but you don’t want to abuse that. It’s a delicate balance where if done effectively, no one notices and the broadcast seamlessly moves along. When done incorrectly for any reason, people notice and they usually aren’t happy.
Theoretically, there’s nothing stopping Golf Channel showing commercials for 59 minutes per hour, but no one would be watching. People may be watching the President’s Cup, commercials and all, but they have reason to not be happy if the broadcast consists of a bunch of commercials that’s periodically interrupted by a golf tournament.