Thursday 8 December 2016

BBC will not show British Open again after terminating contract

Sky to take control a year earlier than planned

Published 30/09/2015 | 09:38

A general view of St Andrew's
A general view of St Andrew's

The BBC's coverage of The Open Championship is officially over, after it requested that its contract to show the tournament be ended a year early.

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The 2016 Open at Royal Troon was due to be the final Open shown on the BBC, with coverage due to switch to Sky Sports from 2017.

The BBC had refused to compete with an offer from Sky thought to be in the region of double the £7million a year it had been paying.

But the BBC wrote to the Royal and Ancient - the organisers of the Open - to request that its contract be terminated immediately, which was accepted. Sky will show the event at Royal Troon instead.

The R&A confirmed that it would not receive any additional revenue as a result of this new arrangement.

Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A, said: “We are looking forward to world-class coverage of The Open from our partners at Sky Sports and are grateful that they have stepped in a year early.

Zach Johnson of the U.S. celebrates as he holds the Claret Jug after winning the British Open golf championship on the Old Course in St. Andrews
Zach Johnson of the U.S. celebrates as he holds the Claret Jug after winning the British Open golf championship on the Old Course in St. Andrews

“It is sad to see the BBC’s live coverage of The Open end and I know some fans will be disappointed. 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.

"I know the BBC will produce compelling highlights, which will be enjoyed by a large prime-time audience.

"We are committed to delivering a spectacular edition of The Open next year at Royal Troon and working with both Sky Sports and the BBC we will ensure compelling coverage for millions of fans throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland."

The BBC - which had shown the Open for 60 years - will broadcast prime time highlights starting in 2016 and will continue its radio coverage.

The corporation had been criticised by its own commentator Peter Alliss.

"It saddens me because I have been working since 1961 but it really saddens me because all golfers throughout Britain and Europe will miss the BBC," he said. "I don't think there will be a golfer that won't be bitterly disappointed at the news today."

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