American viewers return for German soccer; NASCAR, golf spark sports weekend

May 25 (UPI) — Weekend sports were a success in more ways than one, with German soccer, a celebrity golf match and NASCAR’s longest race getting high ratings while also raising money for COVID-19 relief efforts.

No fans were allowed to attend the events, due to coronavirus pandemic safety guidelines, but millions watched on TV and interacted on social media during the matchups.

Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning teamed up to beat Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in The Match: Champions for Charity Sunday at Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Fla. The golf clash had a goal to raise $10 million for COVID-19 relief funds, but doubled that amount with $20 million in donations.

A brief rain delay pushed the start time of the event back 45 minutes. Woods and Manning held off Mickelson and Brady down the stretch and carded a 1-up victory in the charity event. Manning and Woods were dominant early on, while Brady struggled to keep his drives straight. Banter between Brady and Manning — longtime NFL rivals — caught the attention of fellow athletes and fans on social media.

PGA Tour star Brooks Koepka jabbed Brady for his struggles on the course and even donated $100,000 to the event after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback holed a long birdie.

“Congrats to Tiger Woods and Peyton for a hard fought victory and thanks to Phil Mickelson for coaching your boy and keeping us in it,” Brady tweeted after the match. “Now … back to my day job.”

Bundesliga remains a hit

Fox Sports Executive Vice President Michael Mulvihill said Saturday’s Bundesliga soccer games had a viewership drop of 8 percent compared to the first weekend the league returned from a coronavirus suspension.

But the numbers also showed that Americans returned to watch the games, with a 92 percent retention rating for viewership. The viewership for Saturday’s two matches was up 450 percent compared to viewership of Bundesliga games before the league suspended play in March.



Borussia Dortmund 2, VfL Wolfsburg 0

Bayer Leverkusen 3, Borussia Monchengladbach 1

Werder Bremen 1, Freiburg 0

Paderborn 1, Hoffenheim 1

Bayern Munich 5, Eintracht Frankfurt 2


Augsburg 3, Schalke 0

RB Leipzig 5, Mainz 0

FC Koln 2, Fortuna Dusseldorf 2

NASCAR’s longest race

Fox was also the most-watched major network on Sunday during the primetime period, according to the fast affiliate ratings from Nielsen Media Research. The 607-mile Coca-Cola 600 race was a key factor in the network’s high viewership.

Brad Keselowski held off Jimmie Johnson to win the Cup Series race. The event started just after 6:30 p.m. EDT but didn’t end until after midnight due to a rain delay.

Chase Elliott finished second in the marathon competition. Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick also finished in the Top 5. Johnson crossed the finish line second, but was later disqualified because his car failed a post-race inspection.

Coca-Cola 600 Top-10

1. Brad Keselowski

2. Chase Elliott

3. Ryan Blaney

4. Kyle Busch

5. Kevin Harvick

6. Martin Truex Jr.

7. Kurt Busch

8. Tyler Reddick

9. Christopher Bell

10. Chris Buescher

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