New Zealand Golf Magazine - - NEWS -

In the UK it has been re­ported that the threat to Sky Sports’ sta­tus as the long-term United King­dom broad­caster of the PGA Tour has been brought into stark fo­cus af­ter the Amer­i­can cir­cuit an­nounced it was launch­ing its in­ter­na­tional on-de­mand stream­ing ser­vice next year. Read­ers will maybe re­mem­ber that our Peter Wil­liams an­a­lysed this some months ago.

(The PGA Tour signed a

$2 bil­lion (£1.54m) 12-year deal with Dis­cov­ery – the me­dia con­glom­er­ate which con­trols Eurosport – in June for its in­ter­na­tional multi-plat­form rights, in­clud­ing TV.)

In the UK GOLFTV will show 2,000 hours of live ac­tion, in­clud­ing cov­er­age from main events like the Play­ers Cham­pi­onship and FedEx Cup play-offs, and al­most 150 tour­na­ments in all.

If the UK Sky con­glom­er­ate can­not se­cure the rights it would be a big blow, par­tic­u­larly with the re-emer­gence of Tiger Woods and the mas­sive rat­ings in­creases. Sky has screened ex­clu­sive ac­tion from the PGA Tour since 1991 and its cur­rent seven-year con­tract ends in 2022.

There is how­ever a re­cent prece­dent. In Au­gust, the only live cov­er­age in the UK of the USPGA Cham­pi­onship, the sea­son’s fi­nal ma­jor, was on stream­ing ser­vice Eleven Sports.

There is still a chance Sky will be able to bid for a sub-li­cence, al­though the fact Dis­cov­ery said its mis­sion was “to thread to­gether golf’s global fan base into a sin­gle be­spoke one-stop subscription” does not ap­pear to bode well.

“Our long-term goal is to cre­ate a must-have ex­pe­ri­ence that truly en­hances the way global fans watch, play and en­gage with the game ev­ery day,” Alex Ca­plan, the pres­i­dent of Dis­cov­ery Golf, said. “Un­veil­ing the new GOLFTV brand is an ex­cit­ing next step in our jour­ney.”

Watch this space for more as this un­rav­els over the next cou­ple of years.

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