The R&A has confirmed that it was approached in recent weeks by the BBC to discuss being released from its contract to provide live coverage of The 145th Open Championship at Royal Troon in 2016.
After significant deliberation, The R&A has accepted the BBC’s proposal and agreed that the BBC be allowed to amend its broadcast arrangements for The Open 12 months early.
As a result of these discussions, The R&A approached Sky Sports to assess its willingness to broadcast The Open from 2016 rather than 2017. The R&A is grateful to Sky Sports for agreeing to commence live broadcasting of The Open a year early. No additional revenue will be received by The R&A in 2016 as a result of this new arrangement.
The BBC will broadcast prime time highlights starting in 2016 and will continue its radio coverage along with enhanced digital offerings.
The R&A is now in the process of sourcing a new production partner to produce the world feed in the BBC’s absence.
“We are looking forward to world-class coverage of The Open from our partners at Sky Sports and are grateful that they have stepped in a year early,” said Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A.
“It is sad to see the BBC’s live coverage of The Open end and I know some fans will be disappointed. The relationship between The R&A and the BBC spans more than 60 years and we understand the challenging circumstances that the BBC is currently presented with. I know the BBC will produce compelling highlights, which will be enjoyed by a large prime-time audience,” he continued.
“We are committed to delivering a spectacular edition of The Open next year at Royal Troon and working with both Sky Sports and the BBC we will ensure compelling coverage for millions of fans throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland.”
Barney Francis, Sky Sports Managing Director, said: “We’re pleased to begin our commitment to The Open a year early and look forward to bringing unprecedented coverage of this wonderful Championship. We have exciting plans to take coverage of The Open to the next level across our TV, mobile and digital outlets.”
The Open joins an unrivalled schedule of sport on Sky in 2016, including more Barclays Premier League football than ever before, ICC World Twenty20 and England Test match cricket, Formula 1 and England rugby union.
Those wishing to watch without subscription to Sky can do so via NOW TV, the UK’s leading streaming service which offers access to all seven Sky Sports channels for £6.99 for one day or £10.99 for a week pass.
Sky Sports will offer live coverage of all four days from Royal Troon including extended build-up throughout the week, and support programming available across its channels and digital outlets. Content will also be available to view online, on mobile and tablet devices giving viewers the freedom to watch however they choose.
Golf coverage features on Sky Sports every week of the year and the studio’s golf analysis team, with some of the sport’s biggest names including Colin Montgomerie, Butch Harmon and Paul McGinley.
Sky has pioneered golf innovations to continually develop the coverage and to bring fans closer to the sport, including showing all three days in full of The Ryder Cup, HD, 3D, interactive and multi-platform coverage, and more in-depth analysis through the Shot Centre and Sky Cart.
The R&A www.randa.org
Sky Sports www.skysports.com