It is announced today that BBC Radio 5 Live and talkSPORT are to share a non-exclusive licence to cover shot-by-shot commentary from the Open Championship. The five year contract covers shared access to on-course commentary, broadcast studios overlooking the 18th green and access to the primary interview site.
Peter Dawson, Secretary to the R&A said: “It is particularly fitting for the Open Championship to have been licensed for the first five years of the new Millennium to the United Kingdom’s two national radio stations for live commentary. We are pleased to have BBC Radio 5 Live back with a continuing presence, but equally we welcome talkSPORT as our new and complementary licensee.”
Mike Lewis, the BBC’s Controller of Radio Sports Rights said of the new deal: “The Open Championship is the most important event in the golf calendar and so we are delighted that our award-winning coverage remains available for another five years to the millions of golf fans who enjoy listening to the Open on 5 Live.”
Kelvin Mackenzie, Chairman and Chief Executive of the Wireless Group – owners of talkSPORT is also delighted with his station’s major radio rights acquisition: “As a handicap golfer” he says, “I will be delighted to turn on to my own radio station to hear commentary about Tiger Woods’ 330 yard drives!”
This year’s Open will also be the first time that the BBC World Service will have attended the Championship in it’s own right – having been granted a licence by the R&A for second tier coverage – which allows for extended news, but no on-course commentary or access to one-on-one interviews.