PGA Tour and LPGA rights return to Sky NZ, with Premier League deal lined up

Pay-television broadcaster Sky New Zealand has signed rights deals with the men’s US PGA Tour and the Ladies Professional Golf Association, and has reportedly agreed a contract for club football’s English Premier League.

Terms of the deals with the PGA Tour and LPGA were not disclosed, but they will result in the return of tournament coverage to broadcast television in New Zealand. The LPGA conversion begins this week with coverage of the Women’s PGA Championship, while PGA Tour coverage will switch back to Sky for The Greenbrier Classic tournament on July 4-10.

The PGA Tour and LPGA, through separate agreements with new media company Coliseum Sports Media and online television service Lightbox, launched OTT subscription services in 2015 known as PGA Tour Live and World Golf Pass, respectively.

In a statement, Sky said: “While subscriber levels were healthy and the product was excellent, it became apparent after more than a year that many New Zealand golf fans did not have the necessary comfort in their broadband connectivity to maximise the viewing experience. The best course of action was to return to broadcast television and Sky Sport, which held broadcast rights to both Tours prior to their move to the OTT service.”

PGA Tour coverage will remain on PGA Tour Live until the week of The Greenbrier Classic, at which time existing subscribers will be fully refunded for the remainder of their subscription. Sky will also provide PGA Tour Live subscribers with a free installation for those wishing to continue watching the PGA Tour and LPGA on the network.

The PGA Tour will maintain an OTT presence in New Zealand through its global product, also called PGA Tour Live, which provides live coverage of early-round featured groups as well as featured hole coverage. This service will be provided for free to existing PGA Tour Live subscribers through the end of the year.

In a statement, PGA Tour Live said: “We have worked extremely hard to deliver a high quality streaming platform over the last 18 months which offers more content than was previously available to golf fans with more flexible viewing options.

“We would like to thank all the golf fans who took steps to learn about and adopt online streaming technology. As the broadcasting world moves towards this model of delivery, your experience with PGA Tour Live will enable you to take advantage of other streaming platforms as they inevitably enter the market.”

Meanwhile, Sky has reached a deal with beIN Media Group for rights to the Premier League, according to the New Zealand Herald newspaper.

BeIN won the Premier League rights in New Zealand late last year, but has since been seeking to sublicense the rights to a local operator. Sky’s agreement will reportedly secure it coverage of the Premier League from the forthcoming 2016-17 season.