Masters a significant programming gift in form of a late-season major

Bulls of the Week



a man swinging a bat at a ball: Abbotsford native Chase Claypool has created a huge buzz in NFL circles.


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Abbotsford native Chase Claypool has created a huge buzz in NFL circles.

It’s mid-November and outside of the traditional golf season in most of North America, but it’s already been a great week for the PGA Tour and the sport overall. That’s because this discombobulated year of COVID-19 sees the Masters — typically an April fixture — giving CBS, TSN and other media rights-holders a significant programming gift in the form of a late-season major.

Even a competitive tournament and two or three compelling storylines going into the fourth round Sunday would result in some of the strongest TV ratings in golf history. Nothing will take a dent out of the NFL mainstream that day, but casual sports fans typically looking for basketball or hockey at this time of year will make the TV numbers very interesting, especially in the aggregate ratings that track viewers tuning in-and-out of Sunday’s final round.

We’re also bullish on the 8-0 Pittsburgh Steelers, the only team in the NFL left undefeated going into Week 10, and their game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The combination of the Steelers’ national, multi-generational following as a heritage brand, Ben Roethlisberger’s status on the COVID-19 reserve list and another chance to see Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow in his rookie year should make for among the best non-prime-time TV numbers of the week for Pittsburgh-Cincinnati. Add in rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool of Abbotsford and it has the makings for a good showing on both sides of the border.

Yet there’s nothing more important in the business of sports this week than the Miami Marlins’ appointment of Kim Ng as the first female general manager in Major League Baseball history. She’s also a first as a female GM in North American pro team sport history. It’s a trail-blazing move by the Marlins and another tipping point for women rising through the ranks in officiating, coaching and managerial leadership. It’s also the best move of the so far mediocre Derek Jeter era in Miami, where the team is now essentially being run on a day-to-day basis by two women: Ng as GM and Caroline O’Connor as chief operating officer.

The best news of all is that Ng — with three World Series championship rings and experience as assistant GM with both the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers, along with the commissioner’s office at MLB — comes into her role as one of the best-qualified management candidates in the game. There is absolutely nothing about her appointment that fills a quota except for excellence and top-of-class experience in her field.

Bears of the Week

Going into Week 10 of this NFL campaign, the New York Jets are still looking for their first win. The Jets, at US$3.55 billion, which is the sixth-highest-valued franchise in the NFL, according to Forbes magazine, are 0-9 for the first time. They’ve also now clinched the 30th losing season in their 61-year history.

The brutally bad bear market around the team owned by the Johnson family is palpable and extends across the organization’s ownership and football and business operations.

Given the anchor position that the Big Apple plays in TV viewership, it’s an embarrassment for the Jets and for the league, whose two N.Y.-based teams have just two wins in 18 tries this fall.

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