DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., April 4, 2002 – In a strong indication of the growing popularity of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), ABC’s final-round telecast of the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first major of the LPGA season, received a 2.2 overall network household rating, the highest for the event since 1994. First-class golf, a compelling story line and improved production contributed to an 83-percent increase in household viewership as compared to the 2001 final-round ratings. The 2.2 household rating was also the highest for an LPGA major since the final round of the 1998 U.S. Women’s Open. The 2.2 overall network household rating is double the LPGA’s network average for the 2001 season (1.1).

In addition, ESPN’s telecast of the first two rounds of the Kraft Nabisco Championship saw a dramatic increase in viewership in comparison to 2001. The 2002 telecast outperformed last year by 27 percent on Thursday (up from 218,000 to 277,000) and nearly 200 percent on Friday (up from 141,000 to 419,000). Saturday’s telecast on ESPN reached 545,000 homes, which is 51.8 percent more than the LPGA’s typical weekend telecast (359,000). Last year’s third-round coverage was on ABC.

‘The Kraft Nabisco Championship was a great weekend for women’s golf and the LPGA Tour,’ said Ty M. Votaw, LPGA commissioner. ‘The move to the last week of March took us away from competition with The Players Championship on the PGA Tour, and fans were treated to an extra hour of tournament coverage compared to 2001.’

‘In addition to the 2.2 overall network household rating and indicating growth in major markets, the event received increased ratings as compared to 2001 in major metropolitan markets, including Boston, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Los Angeles and New York City,’ said Julie Tyson, LPGA director of broadcast affairs. ‘For example, with a 3.2 rating, the Boston market was up 300 percent from 2001. In Dallas-Ft. Worth, the 2.4 rating was up 243 percent from 2001. And, in Los Angeles and New York, the telecast received 109 and 57 percent increases, respectively, during Sunday’s coverage.’

‘No matter how you slice it, the numbers from last weekend are more than encouraging,’ said Votaw. ‘With the recent unveiling of the LPGA’s five-year strategic plan, this ratings increase falls right in line with our brand promise of bringing the very best of women’s golf to more fans than ever before. Last weekend’s success—not only in the form of viewership increases, but also in the exciting and compelling down-to-the-last minute drama provided by the best players of the LPGA—is just a small indication of things to come from the LPGA Tour.’

The association’s five-year strategic business plan was unveiled during the LPGA’s first-ever Player Summit March 8-10. The new strategy is the business roadmap for the future of the LPGA focusing on a Fans First initiative, a comprehensive plan using measurable fan-based goals as the primary barometers of its success. With a target of annually increasing its on-site attendance by 15 percent and LPGA viewership by 10 percent within each of the next five years, the strategic initiatives will give fans more of what they want from the LPGA, its members and its tournaments.

For more details contact:

Laura Neal, LPGA, 386-274-6200