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Is the BBC about to lose The Open Championship?

January 9th, 2015

Media speculation is that the R&A is seriously considering Sky Sports for exclusive live coverage of The Open Championship from 2016, with the expectation that the subscription broadcaster would be willing to pay a vastly greater fee than the free-to-view BBC can realistically afford.

The R&A invests its profits from The Open Championship into the development of the game but will the extra cash outweigh the disadvantages of the smaller television audience?

There may be room for a ‘Masters-style’ compromise, with Sky getting live broadcasting rights for all four days of The Championship and the BBC able to show the final two rounds and highlights of days one and two.

One industry expert has reportedly warned that the R&A would abandon terrestrial television altogether at its peril. “It would be unbelievable were they to go purely pay-TV,” he said. “Look at golf’s numbers: they’re falling through the floor. It would go against everything the sport is trying to do to reverse that.”

I have no doubt that GBN.com readers have strong views on this subject. You can write to me at publisher@golfbusinessnews.com

Geoff Russell, Publisher

@GBNPublisher

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