As widely anticipated, Sky Sports will offer exclusively live coverage of The Open from 2017 thanks to a new five year partnership with The R&A, in a move that sees coverage move from free-to-air coverage on the BBC after nearly 60 years to pay-TV.
Sky Sports has been awarded the exclusive live rights to golf’s oldest Major from 2017, meaning viewers can enjoy a live golf schedule offering over 100 tournaments a year, including all four Majors, the Ryder Cup, European Tour and PGA Tour.
Sky Sports aims to extend and enhance coverage of The Open, including live coverage of all four days’ play in their entirety across TV, online, mobile and tablet devices, allowing customers to watch wherever they are.
Both new and existing golf fans will benefit from this partnership, which will enable The R&A to make investment in grassroots golf, and work with Sky Sports to excite and engage viewers through its coverage.
The full schedule is available to those that subscribe to Sky Sports, to existing Sky customers for as little as £24.50 a month and also to non-subscribers through NOW TV, the UK’s leading streaming service available on 60 devices, which offers access to all seven sport channels for £6.99 a day or through a week pass at £10.99.
The Open joins a schedule of sport on Sky which also includes Barclays Premier League and international football, ICC and England Test match cricket, Formula 1, England rugby union, the Ryder Cup, Major golf and US Open tennis.
Barney Francis, Sky Sports Managing Director, said The Open was the world’s pre-eminent golf championship and that the broadcaster was committed to taking coverage of the event to new levels. “We offer something for every sports fan and this exciting agreement for The Open means our customers can now enjoy all four Majors live. Sky Sports has a passion for golf that has spanned two decades, offering unrivalled commitment, airtime and promotion as well as year-round innovative coverage. We look forward to working with The R&A to entertain and engage new and existing golf fans through our multi-platform coverage and also at the grassroots level via Sky Academy.”
Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of The R&A, said: “We believe this is the best result for The Open and for golf. The way people consume live sport is changing significantly and this new agreement ensures fans have a range of options for enjoying the Championship on television and through digital channels. Sky Sports has an excellent track record in covering golf across its platforms and has become the home of live golf coverage over recent years. We are very much looking forward to working with them to develop and enhance the coverage of The Open.”
The new rights agreement also offers Sky Sports viewers exclusively live coverage of The Walker Cup in 2019 at Royal Liverpool.