Sky Sports to begin live coverage of the Open golf championship in 2016
Sky Sports will begin its partnership with the R&A next year, with exclusive live coverage of the 145th Open from Royal Troon. The agreement follows the announcement in February that from 2017, Sky Sports will be the new home of golf’s oldest major championship.
Sky Sports will now begin its coverage in 2016 and will offer round-the-clock programming, including live coverage of all four days play in their entirety. The agreement means that next year, Sky Sports viewers can watch all four majors, the Ryder Cup, the European Tour and the PGA Tour, as well as a host of other live events and programming. Royal Troon hosts next year’s Open Championship.
BBC director of sport Barbara Slater said it was “critical the BBC targeted its resources to provide maximum value for money for licence fee payers. We know that many fans are unhappy with the loss of rights and in an ideal world the BBC would still be the home of live coverage of The Open,” added Slater. “The BBC is faced with some challenging financial savings targets. Sport on the BBC is not immune to those pressures and they are compounded by the highly inflationary nature of the rights market.”
Martin Slumbers, chief executive of the R&A, said: “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.”
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 a strong 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.