U.S. Open headed to NBC

Golf championship will air in primetime for the first time

Tiger Woods, welcome to primetime.

NBC Sports will take advantage of a West Coast location to air the final round of this year's U.S. Open golf tournament in primetime.

The championship is scheduled to air 4-10 p.m. EDT June 14 from Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif. It will be the first time the U.S. Open has been scheduled to air in primetime. In the past, the coverage has spilled past 7 p.m., and in 2000 bad weather at Pebble Beach extended coverage until 10:45 p.m. EDT.

NBC Sports president Ken Schanzer said that the network sees a ratings bump when the Open tournament bleeds into primetime, as it did in 2002 when the event on Long Island lasted until 8:40 p.m. EDT, delivering the best Sunday rating ever. This year will be different because the second of golf's majors will occupy most of primetime and already outrates primetime when it airs in the afternoon.

"We have a lot of confidence that the U.S. Open is a special event that is going to garner an audience in primetime," Schanzer said.

Its primetime stature is helping in the ad market, with a handful of new advertisers and CPMs about 10% over a year ago. NBC Sports is about 80% sold for the tournament, and the rest will be sold in scatter, with a traditionally higher price tag.