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CBS Pulls Ads From Masters

Mar 24, 2003  •  Post A Comment

CBS Sports will present the Masters Golf Tournament next month without any commercials but apparently does not plan to advertise that fact. In turn, it appears CBS Sports will not have to pay an estimated $10 million rights fee this year for covering golf’s premier event.
Will the network also cover the expected protests? CBS News says there are no restrictions, but it is also unsure whether it will deem them worth covering. “We’ll definitely look at it as we would any other news story and, if it fits in that day’s broadcast, there’s no question that we’ll cover it,” the CBS News spokesperson said. “There are no restrictions whatsoever on CBS News. The great thing about CBS is there’s a very clear separation between church and state. Given what’s going on in the world right now, we make editorial decisions every single day about what does and doesn’t make it on-air; it’s all relative.”
A CBS Sports spokesperson said that CBS Sports’ primary job is to cover the golf tournament, where the focus is likely to be on whether crowd favorite Tiger Woods can win the right to wear the green jacket for an unprecedented third straight time.
These are the latest moves in the face of a mounting controversy that in the past year has rocked golf’s oldest and most prestigious event. The protest is against the Augusta National Golf Club in Eastern Georgia, which has a policy of admitting only males to its membership ranks.
CBS has been broadcasting The Masters since April 1956, based on a series of one-year contracts with Augusta National. Neither side will reveal what the rights cost, but the price was reported to be $5 million five years ago and has since doubled, according to sources.