The PGA of America, CBS and ESPN have reached an historic and comprehensive 11-year multimedia agreement for the television, digital and OTT rights to the PGA with wall-to-wall, live full-field 72-hole coverage of the championship, beginning in 2020 at Harding Park.
CBS, ESPN and ESPN+ will combine to deliver more than 175 cumulative hours of live coverage from the first tee shot to the final putt across broadcast, cable and digital platforms. The PGA of America will retain the rights to PGA.com and produce the web and mobile app experiences fans have come to expect in Major Championship golf.
The PGA moves to May beginning in 2019, becoming the second major championship on the golf calendar. The move heightens the PGA’s brand and its initiatives, and further elevates the stature of the championship, as the PGA now falls when television viewership is higher and the vast majority of PGA Members are at the front-end of the golf season. The new schedule also enables CBS, ESPN and the PGA of America to effectively promote important ‘grow-the-game’ initiatives to a larger and more engaged audience.
“For nearly a half-century, CBS Sports has been a vital member of the PGA of America extended family while delivering our major championship to golf fans across the country,” said PGA Chief Executive Officer Seth Waugh. “We are also thrilled to partner with ESPN and connect with sports fans through the reach of the ESPN networks. The PGA is a major that not only typically delivers the strongest field in golf, but is synonymous with historic moments that resonate with golf fans everywhere. As we move this iconic championship to May, we are extremely excited that CBS and ESPN will present the highest-quality product with the state-of-the-art technology through a broadcast team that shares our mission to grow the sport of golf.”
“Premium content such as the PGA represents the past, present and future of CBS,” said Joe Ianniello, President and Acting CEO, CBS Corporation. “There is nothing like live sports programming to attract a mass audience and drive our business. We are very pleased to extend our longstanding relationship with the PGA of America and this signature event.”
“ESPN is proud to work together with the PGA of America and CBS to provide fans with unprecedented coverage of this prestigious event,” said ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro. “The addition of ESPN+ provides us the opportunity to go even deeper in showcasing the drama and excitement of The PGA for years to come.”
CBS Sports, which first broadcast the event from 1958-1964 and has been the home of the PGA Championship since 1991, will continue to broadcast the third and final rounds on Saturday and Sunday, increasing its coverage by one hour each day. Under the terms of the new deal, CBS also receives expanded highlight and digital rights, including distribution of its coverage across all CBS platforms including CBSSports.com, CBS All Access and all mobile applications. Additionally, CBS will offer on-site ancillary programming on CBS Sports Network as well as on its digital and social platforms during championship week.
The wide-ranging agreement includes live action on ESPN and ESPN+ across all four days of the tournament, as well as pre-tournament and other ancillary coverage. Exclusive live coverage of the first and second rounds will appear across ESPN and ESPN+ the premium multi-sport, direct-to-consumer video service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI) segment and ESPN. For the third and final rounds, ESPN and ESPN+ will have multiple hours of live coverage throughout the morning, leading into the CBS telecast later in the day. ESPN+ also will air featured hole and featured group coverage for all four days of the tournament, including during the weekend afternoon windows. Before the first round, ESPN+ will air coverage from practice rounds, player news conferences, driving range interviews and more. Also, an extensive collection of in-progress and post-round highlights will be available on ESPN+, ESPN.com, the ESPN App, and other ESPN platforms, and ESPN’s signature news and information programme SportsCenter will have a strong presence at the event all week. ESPN last televised the event in 1990.
CBS Sports will serve as the lead production entity producing all of the traditional 72-hole coverage for the entire tournament. CBS, along with ESPN, will offer a distinct and innovative presentation of the PGA while delivering the highest-quality and industry-leading production, technology and announcers.
“The PGA Championship has been a marquee event on CBS since 1991,” said Sean McManus, Chairman, CBS Sports. “Retaining these rights was a top priority for us this year, and we are excited to have it continue as a cornerstone of our schedule for 11 more years. Together with ESPN, we look forward to greatly expanding the coverage of this great championship. The move to May will greatly benefit CBS, our viewers and the golf marketplace.”
“We are thrilled to collaborate with two great partners in CBS and ESPN for the next 11 years to continue to drive innovation in the production and coverage of major championship golf television,” said Paul Levy, President of the PGA of America. “I’m also extremely excited about what this partnership will do to continue to elevate the value of the nearly 29,000 PGA Professionals who are helping to move this sport forward every day.”
The partnership also includes strategic elements and multiplatform support for key PGA initiatives to help showcase and celebrate the PGA of America, its members, coaches, PGA Jr. League and the golfers who compete in the championship each year, building a compelling future for this major championship and growing the game of golf.