GOLF ON TV CHANGING
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.