BBC to lose live British Open coverage to Sky Sports from 2017

by admin on March 30th, 2019

filed under 深圳桑拿网

Sky will have exclusive live rights for the major championship from 2017-21, with the BBC screening a daily two-hour prime time highlights show and continuing its live radio coverage, the R&A said in a statement.


The Open, like the Wimbledon tennis championships, has long been regarded as one of the ‘crown jewels’ of British televised sport and the decision to remove it from the shrinking list of free-to-air events is a controversial one.

Veteran BBC commentator Peter Alliss, whose voice has become synonymous with the tournament, led the chorus of disapproval.

“It saddens me because I have been working since 1961 but it really saddens me because all golfers throughout Britain and Europe will miss the BBC,” he told BBC Radio 5.

“I don’t think there will be a golfer that won’t be bitterly disappointed at the news today.”

Former world number one Lee Westwood labelled the move “a disgrace” as speculation grew that the BBC would pull the plug on its live coverage after 60 years.

But the decision was welcomed by former British Open champion Tony Jacklin.

“Sky are dedicated to the sport,” the 70-year-old Englishman and four-times European Ryder Cup captain told Reuters.

“I’ve worked with their team for the last three years and I think they’ve done a great job for golf and for the European Tour

“Let’s face it the people who play golf and love golf are going to have Sky so from a financial point of view, and at the end of the day money talks, if the R&A are going to be able to do more for the grassroots of golf with the extra money they are getting, it’s a good arrangement.”


The new TV deal will begin at the 146th Open to be played at Royal Birkdale in 2017.

Despite the inevitable criticism that people without satellite TV contracts will be excluded from following hole-by-hole coverage of golf’s oldest major, R&A chief executive Peter Dawson welcomed the deal.

“We believe this is the best result for The Open and for golf,” he said in a statement.

“The way people consume live sport is changing significantly and this new agreement ensures fans have a range of options for enjoying the Championship on television, on radio and through digital channels.

“Sky Sports has an excellent track record in covering golf across its platforms and has become the home of live golf coverage over recent years.”

The deal, reported to be worth 10 million pounds ($15.1 million) a year to the R&A, compared to the 7 million a year the BBC was paying for live rights, will help golf halt the decline in grassroots participation, according to Dawson.

“Importantly, the new agreement will enable us to increase substantially our support for golf in the United Kingdom and Ireland,” he said.

Sky Sports already shows live coverage of the U.S. Masters, the U.S. Open, the U.S. PGA championship and the Ryder Cup.

The R&A said that commercial breaks, the lack of which make the BBC’s coverage so popular, would be kept to a maximum of four minutes per hour, with none longer than 60 seconds.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)

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