BBC strikes PGA Championship deal – reports

UK public-service broadcaster the BBC has acquired rights to golf major the PGA Championship, according to multiple reports.

UK newspaper The Telegraph said the BBC has agreed a multi-year deal with tournament operator the PGA of America to replace pay-television broadcaster Sky as the rights-holder.

The agreement will mark the BBC’s return to coverage of all four days of a major following the controversial loss of rights to The Open. In February 2015, Sky agreed a five-year deal with the R&A, which operates the Open, for the 2017 event through to 2021. However, the BBC in September 2015 ended its deal early, allowing Sky to assume coverage from last year’s edition.

PGA of America chief commercial officer, Jeff Price, last week said the organisation would not extend its UK rights deal with Sky in favour of exploring a new model for the event. Sky’s rights deal for the PGA Championship has run for a decade, but was not renewed for this year’s tournament which takes place at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina from August 10-13.

The Telegraph said pay-television broadcaster BT Sport and social media platform Twitter were also in contention for the rights, adding that the PGA of America was attracted by the BBC’s free-to-air reach and its social media capabilities. The deal is also set to ensure the PGA Championship receives the widest coverage of any of the four majors in the UK, with rights to the other three being held by Sky.

This year’s tournament will clash with the BBC’s coverage of the World Athletics Championships in London. The Telegraph said the golf will remain on the red button until the athletics action ends at 10.30pm GMT, with normal coverage resuming in future years.