Sky Sports has confirmed that its coverage of The Open, golf’s oldest major, has been extended through until 2024.
The network previously shared live TV rights with the BBC, however, in 2016 The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (R&A), the organisers of the competition, awarded Sky Sports the sole rights to televise the event.
Rob Webster, managing director at Sky Sports commented on the extension: “Over the past three years Sky Sports has elevated the coverage to new heights, and we’re delighted to continue our partnership with R&A until 2024.”
The newly struck deal also includes live coverage for the Women’s British Open and the Senior Open, as well as a host of amateur tournaments hosted by R&A such as The Walker Cup.
Martin Slumbers, chief executive of R&A added: “The Open is one of the world’s great sporting events and is watched by many millions of viewers around the globe. Our partnership with Sky has helped us deliver BAFTA-winning coverage of The Open and present the drama and excitement of the Championship from the opening shot to the closing putt in a dynamic and entertaining way.”
Having extended this particular deal, the broadcaster has tightened its grip on the men’s majors as it looks to hold a monopoly over the sport. With the BBC looking set to lose out on its coverage of the Masters, many anticipate that Sky Sports will gain exclusive rights in 2020.
The Open is the only men’s major championship that is played outside of the United States of America, and with this newly extended deal now in place, it will form part of an 100+ live golf schedule covered by the broadcaster.
Sky won a BAFTA for the 2016 coverage of the tournament, with the Open Zone in particular being hugely popular as it provided insight from some of the world’s best golfers.
The open is set to tee off on July 18th, and will see Francesco Molinari defend his title after edging out Tiger Woods last year to become the first Italian ever to become The Open’s Champion Golfer of the Year.
Webster concluded by stating: “We respect the history and traditions of The Open but know that together we can keep finding new and innovative ways to help tell its stories.”