• Broadcaster could replace BBC from 2017
• 2015 marks 60th year for Open on the Beeb
THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
The Open Championship’s move from the BBC to Sky Sports appears to be closer than ever, according to The Telegraph.
The newspaper is reporting that the tender process for the rights to broadcast the world’s oldest professional golf tournament is underway, with Sky Sports said to be interested in securing live coverage when the R&A’s current deal with the BBC expires after next year’s event.
This will be the 60th year that the BBC has held exclusive rights to the championship. However, speculation has been mounting for the last few years that its position could be under threat from a pay-to-view broadcaster. Indeed, during last year’s tournament, R&A chief executive Peter Dawson remarked: “We have had an extremely long relationship with the BBC and a very happy one.
“Our contract runs through the 2016 Open and what will happen thereafter remains to be seen. Being a rights holder, we obviously have to balance that long-term relationship and the high viewership of the BBC against commercial considerations.”
Dawson also added that the "value of golf rights has accelerated dramatically … that’s perhaps a bigger item in the equation than it might otherwise have been.”
Regardless of what moves may or may not be made, the Open is likely remain on the BBC in at least some form.
Should the Open move to Sky, it would complete the missing piece of the jigsaw for the broadcaster, which already has rights to the three other major championships – the Masters, US Open and PGA – as well as the Ryder Cup. It also shows live action from the PGA Tour and European Tour.
Regardless of what moves may or may not be made, the Open is likely remain on the BBC in at least some form. It is currently classified as a ‘Group B’ designated event by Ofcom, which means that a terrestrial broadcaster must be able to, at the very least, show TV highlights.
Alternatively, a deal may be struck which mirrors the current agreement for the Masters Tournament, under which Sky Sports broadcasts live coverage of all four days of the tournament, whilst the BBC has highlights of Thursday and Friday’s play, before showing live coverage of the weekend’s final two rounds.
The Open on Sky :: Your thoughts
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