Ads Return To Masters


August National Golf Club Chairman Hootie Johnson said Friday that ads will be returning to TV coverage of the Masters. As in the past, there will be only four minutes of commercial time in each hour. In addition, the club is allowing 90 more minutes of TV coverage.

The broadcasts on CBS and USA Network had been commercial-free since 2003, when Augusta released ts three major corporate sponsors—Citigroup Inc., The Coca-Cola Co. and IBM Corp.—from their advertising commitments to relieve them from pressure put on them by the National Organization of Women, which wants the all-male-membership club to start admitting women.

Augusta has always tightly controlled the airtime and advertising in the tournament.

IBM will return as one of the three sponsoring advertisers, this time joined by newcomers (at least to the domestic broadcast) ExxonMobil and SBC.

The additional coverage will be an extra half hour (from two-and-a-half to three hours) on Thursday and Friday on USA's early-round coverage, plus an extra half-hour (from three to three-and a half hours) on CBS's Saturday coverage. Sunday remains four and a half hours.