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The Masters to finish early to accommodate NFL, college football broadcasts

The final two rounds of the postponed Masters tournament will be given an earlier-than-usual finish to accommodate National Football League and college football games also being broadcast by CBS Sports that weekend.

The third round on November 14 is set to end around 5.30pm before the network’s primetime college football game between Alabama and defending national champions Louisiana State University.

Meanwhile, the final round is scheduled to end by 2.45pm, more than an hour before the network’s slate of afternoon NFL games, with extra time factored in in case there is a playoff.

It will be the second year in a row that the Masters has an early Sunday finish, with the schedule changed last year to accommodate bad weather.

“I think the NFL will be helped by the lead-in the Masters will give it in our 4:05 window, which is good for the NFL, and I think our Alabama-LSU game that Saturday will benefit greatly by having a Masters lead-in,” CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus told reporters. “I think the Masters will do really well being on this high-profile weekend, having NFL coverage follow it and having Alabama-LSU follow it.”

The schedule shift indicates how broadcasters and sports organizations are having to work together amid the glut of sports events being currently staged following widespread postponements this year caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The Masters is being held without spectators due to the health crisis.

“It’s still the Masters, with all the beauty and drama, and in some ways viewers might find it more interesting, as they will be able to see the course in a new perspective without all the fans, which I think heightens the curiosity factor,” McManus added. “The look of the course will be different, but the tournament will still have the same feel and tradition. It’s going to be a great weekend for the Masters and a great weekend for CBS.”