Open Championship: Sky wins rights; BBC to show highlights

Rory McIlroy holds the Claret Jug
Rory McIlroy won the 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool

Sky will broadcast the Open Championship from 2017 after winning exclusive live TV rights.

The broadcaster has signed a five-year deal to show the oldest of golf's major championships, the R&A announced.

The BBC, which has previously broadcast the tournament live, will now show a two-hour daily highlights package between 20:00 and 22:00.

The BBC will show this year's Open at St Andrews and the 2016 tournament at Royal Troon live on television.

From 2017, the BBC will continue to provide live radio coverage of the tournament on BBC Radio 5 live, and to cover the tournament online.

Director of BBC Sport Barbara Slater said: "We're obviously disappointed that we were unable to retain live TV coverage of The Open Championship.

"However, we're pleased to be continuing our 60-year partnership with the R&A and feel that a comprehensive two-hour highlights programme - a format which has already proven successful - in a prime-time slot over four days will allow us to continue to bring all the best action and key moments from The Open to a large free-to-air audience on TV, radio and online."

Peter Dawson, chief executive of the R&A said: "We have enjoyed a long and successful relationship with the BBC and, although the nature of that relationship is changing from 2017, we are delighted that the BBC will broadcast prime-time highlights and that the Championship will continue to benefit from extensive live coverage on Radio 5 Live and online.

"Importantly, the new agreement will enable us to increase substantially our support for golf in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

"That our increased commitment to golf in both countries is to be supported by both Sky Sports and the BBC is a hugely positive step for our sport."

BBC golf commentator Peter Alliss
"It saddens me because all golfers throughout Britain and Europe will miss the BBC. I don't think there will be a golfer that won't be bitterly disappointed at the news."

Dawson added: "The postbag's certainly been slightly fuller than normal, confirming what we already knew, that there's a proportion of the population who would see this negatively.

"That's why we've agreed an excellent highlights package during prime time of two hours and let's not forget, with Sky's Now TV offer, they can watch it at a very modest cost without having to buy all the benefits of being a Sky subscriber.

"We'll be increasing our financial support to initiatives in the UK and Ireland in getting to grips with participation in golf. Millions of pounds has been put into these initiatives in the past but we have to admit they have not produced the answer we'd all like to see.

"We need to have a real go at it, and have a good analysis of what the participation issues are, and I think that's one of the great things to come out of this arrangement."

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