THE cash bells were ringing yesterday at both the R&A and its near neighbour, the Ladies Golf Union, as the two St Andrews-based organisations announced mirroring US television deals for their showpiece events.
From 2017 to 2028, NBC Sports Group will broadcast the Open Championship and the Ricoh Women’s British Open, as well as The Senior Open, Walker Cup and Amateur Championship on the men’s side and the women’s Curtis Cup when it is held in Great Britain and Ireland.
“We are delighted to announce that, from 2017, The Open will be broadcast by NBC Sports Group,” said R&A chief executive Peter Dawson of a deal featuring coverage on NBC and Golf Channel in English and NBC Universo in Spanish.
“They have unparalleled experience in golf and have demonstrated a genuine desire to showcase and promote The Open and the R&A’s elite championships through their extensive range of channels and digital platforms.
“The United States is home to millions of fans of The Open and we know that through NBC Sports Group, they will enjoy world-class coverage of the championship.”
Concurring, LGU chairman Trish Wilson said: “This is fantastic news for the Ricoh Women’s British Open and the Curtis Cup and for women’s golf generally. To have the full weight and breadth of the NBC Sports Group behind these two international events will be of tremendous benefit to their growth.”
The NBC Sports Group already covers the Scottish Open, which became the first regular European Tour event to be televised live on American broadcast at Castle Stuart two years ago.
“The R&A is synonymous with the traditions and history of golf, and The Open is golf’s original championship. NBC Sports is proud to present The Open, and to work with the R&A on their initiatives to grow the game around the globe,” said NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus.
“This partnership will allow NBC Sports, Golf Channel and NBC Universo to serve the legions of sports fans in the US with complete coverage that reflects the prestige of the R&A’s championships.”
The first Women’s British Open under the new deal will be held at Kingsbarns and Lazarus added of the LGU deal: “As these events’ new home in the US, NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the Ricoh Women’s British Open and Curtis Cup will further raise the profile of these world-class events.
“Adding broadcast coverage of the Women’s British Open will contribute to the momentum the LPGA Tour and Golf Channel have generated in the United States, as the women’s game continues to grow stronger.”