The BBC has won the race for live UK coverage of the US PGA Championship, in a shock deal which could be announced before the end of this week. This marks a potentially seismic shift for golf, amid an earlier fear that interest in the sport would be damaged by an apparent permanent shift away from terrestrial broadcasting.
The Guardian revealed last week that Sky Sports had lost live rights to the final major of the year after talks broke down with the PGA of America. The tournament organisers promised a “multi platform” alternative but at least an element of live television coverage was also always likely.
Sky was obviously embarrassed by news breaking of their US PGA scenario, just days after it announced the upcoming unveiling of a dedicated golf channel.
Should the BBC confirm its US PGA deal during Open week, further red faces with ensue at Sky. This marks only the second Open shown live by the satellite channel, in a move from the BBC which was deemed highly controversial at the time. Sky’s agreement to show all four days of the Masters exclusively is yet to be extended after an existing deal ended last year.
One complication relating to the BBC’s new major agreement relates to a clash with the world athletics championships, which the corporation was already committed to covering. However, it is believed that is not problematic with a combination of linear television channels and the BBC red button being utilised.