The European Tour has announced that, following an extensive tender process, Sky Sports and BBC Sport have secured live rights to over 40 tournaments on The European Tour International Schedule in a new four year agreement which runs from 2009 to 2012 inclusive.
For the first time, Sky Sports and BBC Sport will collaborate to produce four events jointly, namely the BMW PGA Championship, The Barclays Scottish Open, The Quinn Direct British Masters and the HSBC World Match Play Championship.
BBC Sport will continue to show extensive live coverage of the Saturday and Sunday play at those tournaments to a conclusion, with highlights on Sky Sports. Live coverage on Thursday and Friday will be shown on Sky Sports with BBC Sport broadcasting the highlights.
The new contract will see The Ryder Cup broadcast exclusively live on Sky Sports at The Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, South Wales, in 2010 and Medinah Country Club, Illinois, in 2012 with extensive highlights on both occasions on BBC Sport.
The 2010 and 2012 arrangements mirror those in place for Europe’s last two victories at Oakland Hills Country Club in Michigan in 2004 and The K Club, Co. Kildare, in Ireland in 2006, and also Europe’s trophy defence at Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville, Kentucky, in 2008.
Sky Sports will broadcast in-depth coverage through to the end of the 2012 season, including all World Golf Championships as well as the Omega Mission Hills World Cup in China. They will also continue to show the final qualifying event for The Ryder Cup, namely the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles; The Celtic Manor Wales Open, to be played on The 2010 Ryder Cup course; the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and the two events in Ireland, the Irish Open and the Smurfit Kappa European Open.
George O’Grady, chief executive of The European Tour, said, “We have been impressed with the level of interest and quality of the presentations during the tender process. This four year agreement with Sky Sports and BBC Sport reinforces the Tour’s strong, long-term relationship with our existing broadcast partners.
“The quality and depth of their coverage of The European Tour International Schedule and The Ryder Cup in recent years has been truly outstanding, with technical innovations such as interactive coverage and High Definition adding considerably to the overall package.
“We are delighted that Sky Sports and BBC Sport will, through the new collaborative process at four of our leading tournaments, deliver even greater in-depth live coverage plus extensive highlights each evening. These agreements give the Tour and all our tournament partners immense confidence for the future.”
Vic Wakeling, managing director of Sky Sports, said, “We have a marvellous relationship with The European Tour and are delighted it will continue for at least another four years. The European Tour has grown so much over the last decade whilst the incredible growth of The Ryder Cup has made it one of sport’s biggest success stories.
“With over 30 live Tour events on Sky Sports each year our viewers can see Ryder Cup contenders and the rising stars for the future, throughout each season. And the World Golf Championships events – each shown live on Sky Sports – add competition from the major US stars.
“There is huge excitement generated by The Ryder Cup and it’s great to be part of it. Now we are involved until 2012, taking viewers to Valhalla Golf Club next year, then home to Celtic Manor, and on to our ninth Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club.”
Dominic Coles, BBC director of sports rights, said, “We‘re delighted with this new four year deal which serves to further the already strong relationship between BBC Sport and European golf.
“The deal means that the BBC will continue to bring a crown jewel of golf, The Ryder Cup, to the widest possible audiences across TV, radio and online, as well as the best of the action from the top four UK events on The European Tour, up to and including 2012.”
European Tour www.europeantour.com