A deal to broadcast this year’s US Open on TV in the UK and Ireland has yet to be agreed – just eight weeks before the rescheduled championship is due to take place.
The Daily Telegraph is reporting that the tournament organisers, the USGA, have yet to agree a new contract with Sky Sports, whose five-year contract to televise the championship expired after last year’s event at Pebble Beach.
It is understood that both parties are working hard to reach an agreement that will allow the major to remain with the subscription broadcaster. However, whether or not they will be able to remains to be seen.
According to same Daily Telegraph report, it is believed that, had the coronavirus pandemic not forced this year’s US Open to move from its traditional June date to a new one in September, the tournament at Winged Foot may well have been shown on a streaming platform – such as Amazon Prime – instead.
The decision by Fox Sports to terminate its 12-year contract with the USGA in June is believed to have put paid to that prospect, at least for the time being. NBC took over the rights at a significantly reduced rate which it is said has weakened the USGA’s bargaining position as regards its international contracts.
This, in turn, has given Sky Sports some hope that a deal can be agreed for it to stage September’s event – but only if the deal suits them.
Sky Sports currently has agreements in place to broadcast the other three men’s majors, specifically The Masters, The Open and the US PGA Championship.
The latter came about after a new five-year contract was struck between the broadcaster and the PGA of America after the debacle of the previous year’s championship. The 2018 US PGA was shown on little-known streaming service Eleven Sports in an experiment that was widely derided.