FOX expected to cancel 12-year US Open deal with NBC securing contract

Credit: USA TODAY Network/SIPA USA/PA Images

NBC is set to take over FOX Sports’ 12-year US Open deal after the pay-TV network asked to conclude its partnership with the United States Golf Association (USGA), according to Associated Press (AP) sources.

The long-term deal, which currently has seven years left to run, will see the US Open move back to NBC following the event’s departure from the broadcaster in 2014. 

According to the AP sources, the decision was made two weeks prior with one person stating that NBC will pay just under half of the rights fee through the rest of the contract. 

FOX secured broadcast rights for the US Open in 2015 after agreeing on a deal with USGA, and it was estimated that the value of the deal was around $1 billion.

According to another AP source, FOX had contemplated the idea of moving the US Open to FS1, however, it seems as though ultimately the broadcaster has opted to end its coverage of the event.

If the broadcast change does come into fruition then it adds to NBC’s catalogue of golfing events which includes the Open Championship major, the Ryder Cup, and all LPGA Tour majors, via its various platforms including the Golf Channel. It is expected that an announcement could be made as soon as today.

The US Open was scheduled to be held on 18-21 June, however, due to the global health pandemic, the event had to be pushed back to 17-20 September. The event will still be held at the Winged Foot Golf Club and has been rescheduled as part of PGA Tour’s revised calendar. 

Insider Insight: If the reports are true then this is a huge deal for NBC as the firm looks to bring the US Open back to its programming. The agreement also highlights how some broadcasters have been severely affected by the COVID pandemic, with Fox seemingly making an executive decision to end its deal in order to focus its resources on its other programming.