Sep
23
2010
What the Heck Does “Cume Audience” Mean, Anyway?
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

Commissioner Tim Finchem took the podium on Tuesday at East Lake in Atlanta to give his annual speech on the state of the PGA Tour. You know, the one where he tells everyone what a good job he’s doing despite the poor economy, how the FedEx Cup is a huge success and how 2010 was a great year considering “the No. 1 player” missed four months of the season (technically, it was only a month and a half for Tiger’s schedule). Finchem addressed the Tour would be entering negotiations over TV contracts that expire in 2012 — which is where “cume audience” started getting tossed around.

Television, as is true with any major sport, is an integral part of our value and our business. And I think the biggest takeaway from 2010 is that even though we’ve continued to suffer through what I read in the Wall Street Journal now is the recession is technically over, but in real terms it’s certainly not over. Our audience performances have been very well. Our No. 1 player was out four months, and yet our cume audience, which is the number that we primarily look at, has held up very well in 2010, cume audience for men’s golf might be off 2 percent off of ’09, which we think is a very solid performance.

As a lowly blogger, perhaps I don’t have the most high-brow business-speak vocabulary, so I had to look this one up. Yes, it is what you assume it means. It just reads funny!

Like last year, Finchem compared the debate of the FedEx Cup system to the BCS and actually loves that people argue over it because it helps make golf interesting. (Thing is, the only people debating about the FEC system are losers like me.) He also said fans have embraced the FEC playoffs. Really? I can’t wait to ask spectators if they care or if they know anything about it aside from the winner getting a $10 million bonus.

I think actually, as incensed as all of us college football fans are about the BCS, it’s a great thing for the BCS to be arguing about it all the time. Who wouldn’t want the argument? There isn’t a right or wrong. It’s a matter of degree, it’s a matter of individual things happening. You ought to be able to argue that you can fix club marks or if you hit the ball in a divot you ought to be able to drop it. Those are debates that have been going on for years. I remember four different times in an annual player meeting saying when are we going to change the rules saying you can drop the ball in a divot. These are the things that make golf interesting, and the structure of the competition I think is the same thing. So as long as we’re moving in the direction we’re moving, I’m pleased.

Which direction? The one where FedEx decides not to renew its sponsorship past 2012? I mean, Paul Casey said the amount of money was “outrageous.” I asked Hunter Mahan if he agreed. “Yeah, for sure,” he replied resolutely. And if debating whether players can drop the ball in a divot is what makes golf interesting, then golf is screwed.

Anyway, for a more in-depth analysis of the transcript, which like I mentioned earlier, provided some fantastic plane reading material, check out Geoff Shackelford’s always-entertaining commentary of Finchem’s pressers.